How to Deal with Financial Stress: Dangerous Health Effects
Stress is a fact of life, but financial stress is one of the worst offenders & figuring out how to deal with financial stress can be difficult. If you are worried about money, know that you are not alone.
In 2014, over 860,000 Americans filed for bankruptcy, the average American family had about $8,000 in credit card debt, and three in five families worried about paying their bills every month.
It’s easy to image the ever-looming cloud of financial stress can negatively affect our mental health, but did you know stress can damage our physical health too?
Effects of Financial Stress
Managing debt is not necessarily a bad thing. Paying off loans on a car or home is a great way to build up your credit score.
However, a problem arises when you feel your financial situation is getting out of control. In many cases, new bouts of financial stress are the result of unexpected situations like employment termination, injury, or the death of a loved one.
Whatever the cause of your stress, chances are it will affect you physically and mentally.
- Neck, shoulder, and back pain
- Muscle tension
- Headaches and migraines
- Ulcers and disruption of the digestive system
- Heart problems
- Raised blood pressure
Mental effects of financial can be more subtle but are no less harmful. Typical mental reactions to financial stress include depression and lowered self-esteem.
Depression takes a toll on the body, making it difficult to take action and improve the situation. Overcoming depression is difficult–especially if it is the result of long-term money worries.
Lack of self-esteem is similarly harmful. Many people feel that having money worries reflects poorly on themselves and their abilities–though this is usually not the case. However, having low self-esteem can have long-lasting effects, such as chronic anxiety, that will continue to resurface long after the cause of stress is addressed.
How to Deal with Financial Stress
Whether your stress stems from foreclosure, bankruptcy, or bills, there are ways to cope with your situation in a healthy way.
Unhealthy behaviors—which are, unfortunately the go-to method for many people–include smoking, overeating, gambling, and excessive drinking.
Instead of turning to these behaviors to vent your frustration, consider healthy and more productive alternatives that could help get financial stress under control.
1. Make a budget.
Making a budget is one of the most basic tasks that leads to financial literacy and empowerment.
Be realistic in your budgeting and, most importantly, stick to it. A budget is useless if you do not follow the plan that you make for your household.
If you have a family, sit down with your loved ones to speak in earnest about the importance of budgeting and how everyone can contribute. Financial strife is one of the leading causes for divorce, but like most other issues in life, money troubles can be worked through together.
2. Find ways to better manage your debt.
For most people, having some form of debt is a fact of life. However, if you are finding it difficult to meet your obligations every month, it might be time to consider loan modification.
While loan modification isn’t an easy process to complete, it can help reduce debt—and thereby stress. I’d be happy to help you determine if loan modification is right for your situation and offer suggestions on how to make the process more successful.
I will review your current situation and offer a customized debt management plan that suits your financial goals. Just fill out the form to the right to get started.
3. Develop a savings and investment plan.
When you feel like you are drowning in debt, it can be hard to even consider your savings.
However, having a plan to save and invest a portion of your income can help ensure you will not have the same financial worries in the future.
4. Consider declaring bankruptcy.
Just the word bankruptcy can inspire dread in people dealing with extreme financial stress. However, declaring bankruptcy can release some of the immediate pressure you’re experiencing.
Filing for bankruptcy initiates an automatic stay, which will give you time to make a plan to move forward without creditors harassing you.
If your debt problems stem from your home mortgage payments, you may already be considering a short sale or bankruptcy. Fortunately, there are several debt management solutions available, and the best one will depend on your own personal situation.
Obviously, if your financial situation is dire, you’ll have several questions. In addition to this blog post with common bankruptcy questions and answers, we also offer a free consultation—just fill out the form to the right.
6. Keep a positive attitude.
It is true that there is power in positive thinking. When you are feeling overwhelmed by your financial situation, take a moment to focus on the positive. Remember that struggling with finances is not a sign of personal failure.
Financial stress can take a toll on your overall well-being, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Being in control of your finances is empowering.
Contact us to schedule a consultation; I can help you get your financial life—and resulting stress–in order.