If you've lost your job, there are several ways you can react. One is with calm, thinking, "I can find another job, and I have money saved, so it will be all right." Or, Brantley said, you might react with "catastrophic thoughts," such as you'll never find a job again, or you'll lose your house, and that will cause a reaction within the body.
"An important element is the perception of the situation and the narrative a person assigns to it," Brantley said.
Both McKee and Brantley pointed out that the Chinese symbol for crisis contains two elements: One is danger, and the other is challenge or opportunity.
"Don't look through the danger lens only," McKee suggested. "Look through the challenge lens as well and try to figure out what you're learning from this experience, even if it's just learning how to deal with stress better."
McKee and Lieberman noted that it's not only those who've lost their jobs who are feeling stressed these days. Families of those who are unemployed, and even those who still have their jobs, are also being affected.
"Survivor's guilt is rampant in the workplace, and workplaces are much more stressful. Plus, people are supposed to feel grateful that they still have a job, even though they're being asked to do more and more," said McKee.
Here's information from the U.S. Labor Department on handling sudden unemployment.
Coping With Job Loss
Experts say there are a number of things you can do to ease the stress of unemployment:
SOURCES: Michael McKee, Ph.D., psychologist and stress expert, Center for Integrative Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; Carole Lieberman, M.D., psychiatrist and stress expert, University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute; Jeff Brantley, M.D., director, mindfulness-based stress reduction program, Duke Integrative Medicine, Durham, N.C.