1 October 2020

How to Cope With Financial Stress

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If you’re worried about money, you’re not alone. Money is a common source of stress for American adults. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), 72% of adults report feeling stressed about money, whether it’s worrying about paying rent or feeling bogged down by debt. This is pretty significant given financial stress is linked to so many health issues.

Although any stress can take a toll on your health, stress related to financial issues can be especially toxic. Financial stress can lead to:

  • Poor physical health: Ongoing stress about money has been linked to migraines, heart disease, diabetes, sleep problems, and more. Left untreated, these conditions can lead to life-threatening illnesses, which can plunge you even further into debt.
  • Delayed healthcare: With less money in the budget, people who are already under financial stress tend to cut corners in areas they shouldn’t, like healthcare. According to Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare poll, 29% of American adults held off seeking medical care in 2018 because of cost. Though this tactic may seem like a good way to keep costs down, delaying medical care can actually lead to worse health outcomes and higher costs, both of which can lead to more stress.
  • Poor mental health: In many instances, the link between mental and financial health is cyclical—poor financial health can lead to poor mental health, which leads to increasingly poor financial health, and so on. For years, studies have shown that people in debt have higher rates of mental health issues like depression and anxiety than those who are debt-free.
  • Unhealthy coping behaviors: Financial stress can cause you to engage in a variety of unhealthy behaviors, from overeating to alcohol and drug misuse. According to an APA survey published in 2014, 33% of Americans reported eating unhealthy foods or eating too much to deal with stress.

Learning to cope with financial stress and effectively manage your financial situation can help you feel more in control of your life, reduce your stress, and build a more secure future. Try some of the following tips to get started:

  • Understand the debt cycle. Understanding debt is the first step to getting yourself out of it. Once you know how to break out, you can start building toward your future in a more positive way with simple habits that are easy to maintain.
  • Create extra sources of income. If you’re feeling stressed about finances, you likely already feel you need more money in your budget. But knowing how to increase your financial holdings without creating significant stress for yourself can be tricky, too. Thankfully, there are several ways to boost your income and relieve your stress.
  • Declutter your budget. Since life is rarely constant, regular budget checkups are essential to improving your financial health. Take control of your finances by setting aside some time to schedule, organize, and declutter all of the money coming in and out of your bank account. The more control you have, the less stress you will feel.
  • Don’t forget general stress management. As you work on improving your financial situation, you can reduce stress by practicing stress-reducing techniques and making other changes to create a low-stress lifestyle.

If you feel that the stress of your financial situation is too much for you to handle, it’s important to share your concerns and not just keep them to yourself. Talk about your money concerns with trusted friends and family. You don’t have to go into details if you aren’t comfortable with them, but the more you talk about your concerns with your support system, the less isolated and stressed you will feel. Your loved ones may even be able to offer a new perspective on what you could do differently to get your financial issue under control.

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