NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – George Sance is becoming a better piano player than he thought. It’s because now a days he’s getting a lot of practice.

“Take a lot of my frustrations out on the keyboard,” said Sance, who lives in Fort Worth. “It’s a good release.”

Sance used to work in human resources, but has been looking for a job now for two years.

“I try not to let it bother me, but it does,” he explained. “It’s a big emotional strain.”

Weatherford resident Roberta Moss can relate. She used to work in health care sales.

Moss, who was laid off in May, spends several hours a day searching job sites. “Some days it’s agonizing. Some days it’s great,” she said. “It’s definitely an emotional journey that I have been on. I’ve discovered some things about myself.”

Moss and Sance are among a growing group of North Texans trying to cope with job loss.

“I would compare the stress of losing a job to a chronic illness that you can’t remediate easily,” Dr. Sylvia Gearing said of the unemployment plight.

With the unemployment rate at 8.4-percent in North Texas Dr. Gearing said it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Her advice is to accept what happened, validate that the situation is hard and then move on.

Dr. Gearing also suggests that the unemployed:

– Make a plan and be organized
– Make it part of your routine to look for new job postings
– Follow up with applications you have already submitted
– Stay optimistic
– Stay connected by getting out of the house and interacting with people

“Most of all it’s a matter of thinking clearly. You have to avoid catastrophic thinking,” Dr. Gearing said. “You have to avoid labeling magnifying what is bad about this and minimizing the bad part.”

Moss understands the importance of those things and is hoping to land something before the year is over. “I really was a workaholic I really didn’t have a work life balance,” she said. “I [now] laugh a little bit more.”

Sance is also staying hopeful. “There has got to be something out there with my name on it.” Music is his escape. It provides a few moments of peace when he’s not out looking for work.

There are a number of networking groups helping people like Sance and Moss.

The website provides support to fellow professional job seekers in Fort Worth. Job seekers are able to exchange job leads, network, offer useful strategies for a job search, share information on job workshops and provide support and encouragement to each other.

The website, founded by David Rawles, provides free job postings, resources, audio downloads and radio broadcasts. The 12-week Career Solutions Workshop, which is held at different locations across the metroplex, explores the finer points of the job search. The cost is $40 for program and materials.