According to a report from the American Psychological Association, financial stress is one of the most common causes of stress that is seen in all parts of the world. Nearly 75% of Americans struggle with money problems, which is a significant number, as financial stress is strongly associated with various health problems as well. These problems include depression, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and heart disease, among others. With the continuing rise in the cost of living, a lot of American families undoubtedly feel the burden of financial stress.
…23% of all participants scored positive for PTSD-equivalent scores for financial stress, and 36% of millennials. Due to diagnostic roadblocks (mentioned below), we aren’t calling this PTSD, so we’re calling it AFS. — Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP
How Financial Stressors Affect One’s Health
Worry over money can tremendously affect one’s health in various ways:
- You may develop coping behaviors that are not geared towards making you better. Some people don’t want to think about the financial problems that they turn to alcohol and drug use, binge eating, or smoking. All we all know that these won’t solve the problem but rather add to it.
- You may oversleep or lack too much sleep. It’ll be difficult to sleep normally with all the anxiety over how you’re going to pay your bills or put food on the table for your family. Erratic sleeping patterns will likely lead to a lowered immune system, impaired cognitive abilities, and mood swings.
- Negative Emotions. Frustration, anxiety, and hopelessness can arise due to lack of funds or a buildup of debts. Negative emotions increase stress levels, leading to self-neglect, decreased self-esteem, and poor coping skills.
When considering financial knowledge, many psychologists and public policymakers focus on financial literacy, defined as an understanding of basic economic principles and financial concepts such as how interest rates work, the effects of inflation on savings, the differences between individual stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, and so on. — Utpal Dholakia Ph.D.
How To Cope With Financial Stressors
If you are determined to learn how to manage your financial dilemma and move toward a financially stress-free life, try following these tips:
- Understand How The Debt Process Goes. It would be wise to learn the steps of the debt cycle so you won’t fall into a trap. When you have sufficient knowledge about what debt does to you not only financially but also mentally, then it will also help you detach from it. Then you want to find ways to build a future that starts from practicing positive habits that don’t involve borrowing money.
- Don’t Spend More Than You’re Earning. If you have a family, you must know how to budget your earnings and don’t spend more than your income. Even better, learn to spend much less than you’re earning so that you have a little more left for savings. Living within your means is one of the best ways that you can manage your finances and reduce your stress.
- Find Simple Ways To Earn Extra. If you need additional money to come in, look for means to earn extra income, means that you don’t take much of your energy so you won’t be adding stress to you. Talk to family members or friends who might know about some part-time jobs you can do. Or you can check online for some easy tasks that you can do after your full-time work hours.
We may notice changes in our concentration, appetite, and energy or a whole host of changes in our behavior. Other times we are less aware of how we are affected in the small ways, and before long, we feel overwhelmed. — Marni Amsellem, PhD
- Practice Stress-Relieving Strategies. While you’re going through the process of resolving your financial situation, don’t forget to balance it with healthy activities that can help you relax and stay focused on your goal. Exercise, meditate, eat right, and get enough sleep.
By trying to follow the tips mentioned above, you may be able to get your finances going your way. Soon, you’ll be able to adapt these into your lifestyle and reducing financial stress will be easy and more manageable.