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Stop the Fear, Take Action


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Appreciate Life

Hosen Fukuhara

temple bishop at the Boyodo-In Temple

“Sometimes we grumble because we have many different difficulties. But instead of grumbling, why don’t we look at things another way and appreciate more what we do have. It is in the middle of our difficulties that we can appreciate what we are given. In Buddhism, tomorrow never comes. Everyday life is what is important.”


Escape From Your Debt

Wendy Burkholder

executive director of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hawaii

Illustration: Chris Whetzel

“Frame your situation into something manageable by getting organized. First, create totals of the following:

1) a budget that includes all sources of income after taxes
2) expenses that reflect your current lifestyle—and you must be honest
3) an accounting of all debts, such as credit cards, loans, medical bills, past-due utility bills, etc.

Then return to the budget and determine where to adjust spending, giving priority to basic necessities like housing, food and medical care. This simple step provides clarity and enables you to make choices that empower you.

To pay a creditor with money that should be used to prevent your electricity from being shut off, or that would help to avoid foreclosure or eviction, would be a mistake. If this is your situation, you must communicate it with your lenders with the promise that, when you financial situation improves, you intend to get back on track. Remember, it’s in the lenders’ best interest to work with their borrowers. They can’t help you if you are avoiding them.

The reality of our current economic turbulence is that many people’s credit histories will suffer. Paying bills on time is important, but keep it in perspective. I have yet to read an obituary that listed having a high FICO score as one of life’s more important milestones.”


Help your Neighbor

Kelvin Taketa

president and CEO of the Hawaii Community Foundation

“Every time the economy goes bad,  it creates a higher demand for services in the non-profit communities, such as at food banks or homeless shelters. If you have the ability to contribute to your favorite charity or cause, by all means do so. If you already contribute, keep donations at the same level. Now, more than ever, people really need the help.

If you can’t give money, give your time. For example, volunteer at Meals on Wheels, senior centers, schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, or the YMCA and YWCA. Finally, help your neighbors and loved ones. All of us know people who are going through tough times right now. Cook them dinner or offer to babysit. Small things can make a big difference.

We all have the basic desire to know that our lives matter to more than just ourselves. You’ll find that reaching out can give great meaning and satisfaction to your own life.”


Stay Healthy

Patricia Avila MD, MPH

medical director of Online Care/Care Management at HMSA.

Maintain regular exercise.

If you don’t have a routine, start one. Exercise is very important in alleviating stress and it makes you feel good.

Eat healthy.

When we are stressed, we start grabbing for comfort food, such as fast food, which can be expensive and unhealthy. Take this as an opportunity to cook at home.

Keep a regular schedule.

If you are unemployed, or not working as much as you’d like, this will help to eliminate stress. Get up at a certain time, schedule when you’re going to search for employment, and continue socializing with friends, which has proven to be very beneficial in keeping one healthy.

Don’t skimp on preventive medicine.

Continue to take prescribed medication. Keep your mammogram, Pap smear, flu shot and colon-cancer screening appointments. Remember, if a disease is noticed in its early stages, treatment is far more effective.

Address your financial picture straight on.

We tend to ignore the things that are causing us anxiety. In this case, sweeping money matters under the carpet can only cause difficulties to proliferate.  

Look into social communities for support.

Visit your local community clinic or connect with your church to find out about healthcare programs. (Also check out HMSA’s new low-cost, online care, available to both HMSA members and non-members, at www.hmsa.com.)


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