Financial Stress: How It Can Affect Your Mental Health and How to Cope

Financial stress is a major source of anxiety and pressure for many people, especially in today’s uncertain economic climate. Over 80% of people aged 18 to 43 have concerns regarding their finances. Stress negatively affects mental health and can further degrade your quality of life, productivity, and physical health. 

There are many ways that financial stress can express itself in a person’s life, but there are also many ways to manage stress and finances to improve your situation.

How Financial Stress Can Manifest

Stress is a normal part of life. But if it happens too frequently, it can impact your health. When you get stressed, your body may release chemicals like adrenaline to boost your strength, stamina, and focus until you feel like you’re out of danger. But this fight-or-flight response can affect your health and ability to function long-term if it occurs too often.

This effect is why money problems are a serious consideration. In this increasingly expensive world, most people have long-term and recurring financial concerns.

1. Mental health issues

Financial stress can cause or worsen anxiety and depression. People in debt are four times more likely to experience long-term depression, and the pressure of upcoming bills can suffocate them.

When you’re living under constant stress, your brain chemistry can be permanently affected. You might become more forgetful, leading to mistakes that cause even more stress. It’s a vicious cycle that can be almost impossible to escape.

2. Physical ailments

High stress is a common cause of difficulty sleeping, which can lead to several side effects, including slower thinking and reduced attention span. Insufficient sleep can also alter your appetite, causing you to over or undereat.

Constant activation of your threat response systems can lead to several ailments, including headaches, stomach problems, and high blood pressure. Your body can suffer significant damage by being on high alert.

How to Cope with Financial Stress

Coping with financial stress requires short-term and long-term strategies that address the situation’s emotional and practical aspects.

Financial solutions

Taking the issue head-on is the greatest method to manage financial stress.

1. Acknowledge your financial situation

Don’t avoid looking at your debt and expenses. It’s the first step in coping with financial stress: realizing your situation. Acceptance can help you stop trying to maintain a lifestyle you can’t afford and avoid luxuries to save money.

Accepting the reality of your finances can help reduce anxiety and uncertainty and open the path for you to begin solving your problems.

2. Create a budget

Once you’ve acknowledged your financial situation, creating a budget is the next step. You’ll start by identifying your income sources and expenses. Then, categorize them as fixed and variable, and allocate your income to them.

Make a budget you can stick to but still leave room for unexpected costs. It’s possible to save money on necessities by switching to cheaper alternatives or taking advantage of sales and coupons.

3. Manage debt

With a clear financial plan, you can tackle some of your expenses and reduce and manage debt. You can do it by focusing on paying off credit cards, for example, which carry the highest interest rates. While this is happening, it’s important to ensure you keep up with your minimum payments for low-interest debts.

Another option is to refinance debt, which can centralize your stream and offer some perks, like points on a plan or lower rates. It’s also a quick and simple way of reducing your monthly spending without much effort.

Stress solutions

Sometimes, it can be difficult to improve your financial situation easily or quickly. If that’s the case, stress management becomes necessary to withstand the pressure until you can overcome your issues.

1. Set realistic goals

Goal-setting can be a tricky process. Looking at big goals like purchasing a house, paying off your loans, or acquiring an expensive item may do more harm than good. You might observe the distance between you and your goal and become unmotivated or stressed. 

A better plan is to target a large goal and break that down into the steps you need to achieve that outcome.

2. Practice self-care

It can be tempting to focus solely on your income streams until you get past your current financial situation, but this behavior can be damaging and lead to burnout. Self-care practices like meditation, exercise, and socializing with loved ones can give you more energy and prevent you from feeling overworked.

3. Reach out

It’s okay to ask for help when you need it. If you’re struggling with your finances, contact a friend or family member. Some professionals can help with your mental and financial health. Even if they can’t help you financially, they can offer emotional support during difficult times.

Beyond Dollars and Cents

Financial concerns can have a ripple effect that impacts your mental health in the workplace and overall well-being. These worries affect you and your job, and the tension they cause might make it difficult to focus on your work.
Don’t get it wrong—you can be a high performer and still prioritize your mental health. It won’t only help you achieve more in your career but also cultivate the capacity to handle anything life throws at you. You can start by looking for practical solutions and practicing stress management.

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