Despite the upcoming presidential election and ongoing war in Iraq, most Americans are focused on one thing these days...the financial crisis. On the morning of October 10, 2008—as Oprah, Gayle King, Ali Wentworth and Mark Consuelos prepared to go on the air—stocks plummeted 500 points in just five minutes.
"They say it's not only the United States," Gayle says. "Paris, London, Germany, Tokyo are all taking a dive."
As people around the world watch their investments dissolve and savings shrink, the stress is starting to take an emotional and physical toll. According to a recent poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, eight out of 10 Americans say they're stressed out because of the economy.
Of the 7,000 people polled, 47 percent said financial anxiety caused them to have headaches, and 35 percent reported upset stomachs. More than one third also said they were experiencing muscular tension.
One story in the news may also cause a rise in blood pressure. Just days after receiving an $85 billion bailout from the federal government, media agencies reported that American International Group Inc. (AIG) spent $440,000 on a spa retreat for 70 top-earning employees.
Executives at the nation's main life insurance subsidiary stayed at an exclusive California resort and spent thousands on spa treatments, banquets and golf outings. Gayle says the executives justified their outing by saying they did not use the bailout money to pay for the retreat. "Why didn't they use that money to bail themselves out?" Oprah says.
"That's just wrong," Mark says.
"I do find that, in a financial crisis, an herbal wrap usually does the trick," Ali jokes. "If I get my pores cleaned, I'm good."