The thing about money is that it’s a ubiquitous part of modern life. It affects everything from our day-to-day lives to our long-term goals. Because of this, much power, money can be a significant source of stress for many of us. Financial stress comes from managing money and debt, and if we let it get too out of hand, it can directly impact our mental health.
Just take a look at the numbers and statistics.
90% of Americans say that their financial status stresses them out. 65% feel like their financial difficulties are piling up, and they have no way to overcome them. The kicker? 40% aren’t doing anything to secure their financial future.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the link between financial stress and mental health, and what you can do to take better care of yourself.
The Link and Effects of Financial Stress on Mental Health
Financial stress can take a toll on our mental health in many ways. For instance, it can cause feelings of anxiety and depression and even cause physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches.
The fear of not being able to pay bills or the shame of being in debt can lead to isolation and feelings of hopelessness. It can also lead to a decrease in productivity at work, strained relationships, and an overall decrease in the quality of life.
Research has shown that financial stress can increase the risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, financial concerns top the list of stress factors for Americans, with 72% of respondents saying that they experience financial stress at least occasionally.
Why is Financial Stress So Common?
Given the significant impact that financial stress can have on mental health, it’s essential to understand why it’s such a prevalent problem.
One reason is that many of us live in a consumer-driven society, where we’re bombarded with messages telling us that we need to have the latest gadgets, the newest clothes, and the fanciest cars to be happy. This constant pressure to keep up with others can lead to overspending and debt, which in turn cause financial stress.
Another reason why financial stress is so common is that many people simply don’t have the financial education they need to manage their money effectively. Without the proper knowledge, it’s easy to fall into debt and feel overwhelmed by financial stress.
What Can You Do to Look After Yourself?
If you’re experiencing financial stress, it’s significant to take steps to care for your mental health. Here are just a few steps you can take:
Financial stress can be a challenging issue to deal with, but you have to remember that you’re not alone. Seek support whenever you need it by reaching out to a trusted friend or family member. Talk to them about what you’re going through because even just airing out your problems with someone who understands can help you feel less alone.
If you’re struggling to cope with financial stress, consider seeking support from a mental health professional. They can help you develop coping strategies to manage your stress and improve your mental well-being.
When under financial stress, be extra careful with yourself. Take time to do things you enjoy, such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a relaxing bath.
Don’t forget to get your body moving! Practicing mindfulness and taking medication can also be beneficial, as they can help you manage stress and anxiety.
One of the best ways to reduce financial stress is to learn and keep learning everything you can about personal finance and money management. Look for resources on budgeting, saving, and investing. You can also take classes, read books, or listen to podcasts.
If you don’t know where to start, here’s a tip: consumer credit score monitoring is an essential tool for anyone experiencing financial stress, providing a clear picture of their creditworthiness and empowering them to make informed decisions about their financial future.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting financial goals can help you stay motivated and focused, but it’s essential to make sure they’re realistic and attainable. Breaking down large goals into smaller, manageable steps can help you achieve them without feeling overwhelmed.
For example, if you want to pay off your credit card debt, start by creating a budget and identifying the areas where you can cut back on spending. Then, set a goal to pay off a specific amount each month and track your progress.
Prioritize Your Spending
Creating a budget and prioritizing your spending based on your needs, not your wants, is an essential step in managing financial stress.
Make a list of your monthly expenses and determine which ones are necessary and which ones you can live without. Prioritizing your spending can help you avoid overspending and make sure that you’re living within your means.
Look for Ways to Increase Your Income
It might be time to search for ways to raise your income if you’re finding it difficult to make ends meet. Consider asking for a raise at work, taking on a side gig, or selling items you no longer need.
Even a small increase in income can make a big difference in reducing financial stress.
Connect with Others in a Similar Situation
Sometimes, the best support comes from those who are going through the same experiences. Look for support groups or online communities where you can connect with others who are dealing with financial stress. You can share your experiences, offer support, and learn from each other’s strategies for improving mental and financial well-being.
Just be cautious of any potential scams or false promises of quick solutions, as they can end up exacerbating your financial situation rather than helping it.
Taking care of yourself while dealing with financial stress requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to make positive changes in your life.
By taking small yet intentional steps every day, you can regain control of your finances and reduce the stress that’s been holding you back!