These are unprecedented times. With the breakdown of traditional financial institutions, the wildly fluctuating stock market, the Madoff ponzi scheme and government bailouts, Americans are confused about what to do. Some are in denial, not ready to grasp the problems and potential consequences. Others are angry at what they see as awarding recklessness on Wall Street. Still others are in a panic about what they’ve lost and the gloomy economic forecast. These are all common emotional reactions to loss. And for Sandwiched Boomers, many of whom are financially responsible for their growing children and aging parents, they’re scared as they watch their dreams of a comfortable retirement disappear.

Medical care companies report that mental heath calls due to financial pressure have increased over 100% in the past several months. Early signs of distress – sadness, irritability, lack of motivation and changes in sleeping or eating patterns – can be subtle and easily missed in a busy family. However, as the economic turmoil continues, there can be a snowball effect.

If you’re spending time with your family over the holidays, notice how they’re feeling emotionally. Talk together about what’s going on. We’ll be focusing this week on healthy strategies that will help you keep a positive attitude in these tough times.

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