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Market Rollercoaster Takes Emotional Toll On Investors

Traders work on the floor of the New York The Dow finished down more than 600 points after Standard and Poor's downgraded the U.S. credit rating. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Traders work on the floor of the New York The Dow finished down more than 600 points after Standard and Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s been a dizzying few days of stock drops, slides and rebounds. For many investors, it’s not just your money on a rollercoaster ride -– you emotions are, too.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports on how to deal with all the Wall Street anxiety.

Along La Salle Street Thursday, there was no shortage of investors nervously climbing a wall of worry.

Mary Sierakowski’s is one of them, citing a number of concerns.

“My children, the amount of debt we have, my lack of nest egg now. It’s very frightening, and it doesn’t seem like anyone wants to lead,” Sierakowski said.

Rush University psychologist Sheila Dowd says that’s just one reaction to anxiety and apprehension, like neck pain or tension headaches. Those who worry most often foresee the bleakest outcome.

“They imagine the worst things happening — being homeless, out on the street and not having anywhere to live when they retire. Worriers sometimes tend to go down that direction,” she said.

But with the markets on a daily roller-coaster ride, controlling anxiety isn’t easy.

“I don’t pay any attention because you can’t change it,” investor Mary Shaughnessey said.

That’s one coping strategy. Physical exercise, including yoga, is another.

And so is simply shifting your focus to distract your mind, “engaging in things that are enjoyable and pleasurable and remembering things that bring you that sense of accomplishment and that joy,” Dowd says.

Another coping strategy: put your worries on schedule. Seriously, schedule a time to fret, so it doesn’t overwhelm your entire day and paralyze you from accomplishing anything.