Money is something that everybody feels worried about now and then. However, if you find yourself constantly feeling stressed about it, you may have financial anxiety. Learn more about what causes financial stress and how you can help manage it.
Financial Stress and Your Health
You may find yourself stressing about money for different reasons, like:
- Losing your job
- Mounting bills or expenses
Financial stress may cause you to think or behave in ways that you didn’t before. It doesn’t always mean that you have depression or an anxiety disorder. Understanding the link between financial anxiety and your mental and physical health can help you start to reduce financial stress.
Mental health. When you worry about money, your mental health is affected in different ways. Anxiety about money can cause you to sleep badly or to have anxiety or panic over everyday actions, like opening bills. You may start to feel isolated. You may separate yourself from family or friends if you feel that you don’t have enough money to join them for activities.
If you’re dealing with debt, you’re not alone. Studies show that half of all adults who are in debt also have mental health problems related to worrying about money. When you worry about money, it can feel like a burden that you’re dealing with alone. This loneliness only makes things worse. It can cause increased anxiety or mood changes.
Physical health. People who have debt or financial stress often report that it affects their physical health. Financial anxiety can release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can lead to problems with:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Immune system functions
- Weight gain or loss
Control Your Finances
The first thing you can do to reduce financial stress is to get to the root of the problem. Ask yourself what is causing your financial trouble. Is it job insecurity? Debt? Not enough income? Once you’ve pinpointed the source of the problem, you can make a plan.
Start by creating a budget. You can do this by making a list of all your monthly expenses and the average cost for each. This way you can see on paper what you need to take care of each month.
Some financial experts say that you should apply the 50/20/30 rule when creating a budget. This means that 50% of your paycheck should go toward the obligatory expenses, like rent, insurance, and bills. The 20% should go to your savings, and 30% can be used on other monthly expenses, like leisure or fun.
If debt is a part of your financial anxiety, you should make a plan that helps to pay down late fees and penalties. If you see in your budget that you can’t make the payments, you can reach out to your lender to see what your options are, including debt consolidation.
Cope With Stress
Once your plan is in action, you can find ways to deal with your stress. Try to stick to a daily routine that includes regular meals, physical activity, and enough sleep. Make sure that you focus on healthy foods to nourish your body, and avoid alcohol. When people worry about money, they sometimes increase their alcohol intake. This is only a temporary fix that won’t help you, and may hurt you, in the long run.
To help calm your mind, you can try some relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. Activities like these are good for both your mind and body and can help alleviate the symptoms that stress and anxiety cause.
Let people in your inner circle know what’s going on. Financial anxiety may cause you to avoid talking to others about how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. By letting people in, you may find emotional support and assurance that you’re not going through this alone.
Your family and friends can give you advice, but you should also let them express their concerns. If you’ve been acting differently, they’ve probably noticed. Let them express their care for you. To help you bond, you and your family can schedule time together to do activities that are inexpensive and fun.
Get Help With Your Finances
Another way to reduce your financial stress is to talk to a professional. Many organizations offer free financial counseling so that you can get expert opinions and advice about how to get your finances in order. A financial advisor can also help you make a budget and give you the tools that you need to stick to it.