On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped four percent—the largest one-day percentage decline since 2011. On Tuesday, the Dow closed 567 points higher and rose as much as 600 points.
C’est la vie on Wall Street, where volatility is king. As financial advisor Rachel Podnos put it: “There’s a lot of volatility, corrections are perfectly normal, and they have happened over and over. They’ll continue to happen. It’s just inevitable.”
So be patient with the stock market. Take the long view. MarketWatch explains how to avoid freaking out:
Distract yourself from alarming headlines
If you’re a relatively young, long-term investor, don’t even look at your account balance, Podnos said. It is too difficult at this point to predict the market’s levels years into the future, when young investors will be cashing out accounts such as their 401(k)s. Money that people are saving for short-term goals shouldn’t be invested in the market, she said.
So instead of obsessively checking account balances, distractions like working out or socializing with friends can be more beneficial, she said.
Exercise has even been linked to financial health; a 2016 study from the American Heart Association found that individuals who exercised moderately paid about $2,500 less in annual health care expenses related to heart disease than those who did not exercise.
Better yet: Do a job you can earn money for, like babysitting, dog walking or signing up for an app like TaskRabbit, Podnos said. Extra money can go toward debt or savings.
Just don’t distract yourself through “retail therapy,” Podnos said. Anxiety is linked to making financially risky decisions. And shopping to relieve stress and anxiety can leave you in a worse financial state than before.