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Shaking off the emotional toll of the recession

    Last night on the CBS4 news they showed a long line of people in Little Havana waiting to get a food basket from a community service organization. Although the needy people had received vouchers and were told there would be enough for all, they camped out because they didn't want to take a chance.

   Seeing those kind of things, and hearing about unemployment makes me feel fortunate for any income I have coming in. People out there are in bad shape, not just financially but emotionally. A NYT/CBS news poll of unemployed adults found the recession caused fundamental changes in the way people live and feel about themselves.

 Dennis Jacobe, chief economist of polling firm Gallup, said "people do not feel safe."

More than half of the nation's unemployed workers have borrowed money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. Almost half have suffered from depression or anxiety. About 4 in 10 parents have noticed behavior changes in their kids. Almost half said they are having more arguments with family and friends and 55 percent report more insomnia. More than half feel ashamed or embarrassed about their unemployment. 

Even more, the unemployed workers don't see things getting better in the job market. Only 39 percent expect improvement, 36 expect it will stay the same and 22 percent say it will get worse.

It can be challenging to shake off the emotional toll of the recession. My advice: Start a list of steps you can take to make your life better. All that needs to be on the list are baby steps, small things you can do to move in the right direction. For example, pick up a brochure from a vocation school, ask 10 friends if they know any job openings, research breathing exercises to do before going to bed to help get a better night sleep, apologize or show kindness to whomever you may have argued with in the last month.

  If you are lucky enough to have a job, think of one thing you can do to make someone's life better and it will improve your outlook. Is there an introduction you can make? If you own a business, is there a small piece of it you could outsource to help someone earn a buck? Maybe we can all shake off the emotional toll of the recession, especially since fewer of us can afford antidepressants.