Five Ways to Reduce Your Economic Stress

It's not just Wall Street and Washington losing sleep over the recent market nosedive and historic S&P downgrade. Across the country, average Americans are also feeling the stress of an economy that still struggling to recover from a recession.

Dr. Fred Vagnini, director of the Heart, Diabetes & Weight Loss Centers of New York, said economic turmoil is affecting everyone from middle management and blue collar workers to top executives on Wall Street. Vagnini's patients have been showing signs of increased stress tied to the economy since the recession hit in 2008, and have shown little signs of improvement.

"This recent news of the debt and budget [debate] over the past six months, now on top of it is the stock market crash, high gas prices and unemploymentit's just devastating," Vagnini said. "You can't change your situation, but if you build up your body to fight the effects of stress, you will be stronger and better able to deal with stress problems."

Here are some tips from Vagnini on reducing your economic stress levels:

No.1: Start an Exercise Program. Taking positive action when under chronic stress and fatigue is critical. Vagnini recommends not only cardio but also some form of resistance training, even as little as 15 to 20 minutes three times a week can reduce stress and help you sleep at night.

No. 2: Dont Be a News Addict. Keeping up with current events is important, but too much doom and gloom from the media can affect your health.

"Break away from the constant bad news," Vagnini said. "It's just every minute for the past eight months. Don't be so addicted to the news."

No. 3: Cut Back on Alcohol.  Vagnini said consuming too much and too often lowers the immune system and can lead to depression.

No. 4: Try Yoga or Meditation. Both can help balance your body and nerves, Vagnini said.

"Yoga is unbelievable for stress reduction," he said. "Even smaller forms of meditationyou will relax, putting you at rest."

No. 5: Be positive. Even if you are feeling nervous about the economy and your investments, think as positively as you can.

"Your attitude can affect the outcome of your life," he said. "[Having] a positive attitude can actually result in beneficial things for you."