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Advice for mind and money in tough times

  • Story Highlights
  • Experts give nuggets of wisdom to get through your current financial crisis
  • Remain hopeful that the changes you make will work, financial therapists says
  • Bartender: Cut back midweek and limit socializing to Friday or Saturday night
  • If you don't have insurance, find a public hospital in your area, doctor suggests
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By Stephanie Booth
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Real Simple

(Real Simple) -- Here are some nuggets of wisdom from top experts about how to get through your current financial crisis:

"Money and emotion should be dealt with separately," financial therapist Amanda Clayman says.

"Money and emotion should be dealt with separately," financial therapist Amanda Clayman says.

Financial therapist Amanda Clayman

Her advice: "You can't keep wishing negative events hadn't happened. When a client continuously relives the past, I say, 'Yes, this bad thing is true. But what needs to happen now?'"

"Money and emotion should be dealt with separately. One of my clients was using 'credit-card therapy' to cope with a crisis. I agreed her situation was unfair but told her, 'The universe doesn't owe anyone a new bag, no matter what you've gone through.' Once she acknowledged that, we were able to discuss her options from a less emotional place."

"Remain hopeful that the changes you make will work. We're all creatures of habit, reluctant to disturb the way we've been living our lives. But the current economy is forcing us to reexamine that. If there's no hope in the equation, you'll remain stuck in a rut."

Rabbi Niles Goldstein

His advice: "I'm encouraging people to accept and tolerate this ambiguity in their lives. View life itself as a condition without guarantees, one in which anything can happen to anybody at anytime."

"Muscle tissue gets stronger after being broken down. I believe the same is true for our souls. Feeling broken from a crisis opens our hearts and helps us appreciate things we previously took for granted."

"I recently urged a single mom who was devastated about being laid off to look at this economic crisis as an opportunity to reinvent herself. She confessed she had always wanted to move out of New York but never could because she was trapped in her well-paying job. Now is the perfect time to tap into your strengths and talents and take your life in a new direction."

Emergency room doctor Rachel Alt

Her advice: "If you don't have insurance, find a public hospital in your area. Some will agree to charge only what you can pay based on your income. (If you're not sure if the hospital near you is public, look for the words 'public' or 'county' in the name.) But no matter what kind of hospital you go to, the doors of the ER should always be open."

"Find a sympathetic ear to talk to through the hard times. I confide in my partner about the things I did well, in addition to the mistakes that I worry I've made. Unfailingly, he tells me how proud he is of me and the work I'm doing."

"Taking a mental-health day helps me keep my balance. My parents used to let me to do it in high school once a semester for no other reason than to increase my sense of well-being, and I'm still grateful. Now, once a year, the ER docs do the same thing. We play Frisbee, go hiking, and goof off. It's important to realize you can take a day off and the world won't fall apart."

Bartender Darryl Robinson

His advice: "I tell my customers, 'If you want more bang -- or alcohol -- for your buck, order a martini.'"

"If you like to go out, cut back on midweek excursions and try to limit your socializing in restaurants and bars to either Friday or Saturday night, when most people are free."

"Grab a bite to eat at home before you head out the door for the evening. You'd be surprised at how fast your tab can go up when you start ordering food. If you have something in your stomach when you go out, you'll drink less, spend less, and handle your liquor better."

"Be realistic about what you can do right now. Last December I had a customer whose friends wouldn't let her off the hook when she said she couldn't afford to exchange gifts. I told her to buy each person a few lottery tickets. She agreed, I bought her a drink, and she left me a bigger tip than she probably spent on the tickets for her friends."

School guidance counselor Jennifer Grimaldi

Her advice: "Encourage your kids to be money-savvy. My school is planning a 'Real Money 101' presentation for students to explain money management, banking services, financial investments, and identity theft. At home, the best way to teach kids to respect how money is earned and spent is by modeling good practices yourself."

"If you can afford to, invest in your career. My school district's budget for professional development was cut, so I'm paying out of my own pocket to attend seminars on adolescent anger management and violence prevention."

"Find a new source of joy. I recently adopted a six-year-old bichon frise. Taking Lacey for walks and watching her chase after her ball has been the best stress relief yet."

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