Why Does Money Stress Hit Us So Hard?
There’s a unique level of stress that comes with money worries. It’s easy to start feeling out of control or hopeless when you continually face bills or debts that you worry you can’t tackle. But no matter how badly you’re stressed about money, there are ways to help control the stress and get back your sense of control.
It’s normal to feel worried, anxious or down when times are hard. Job insecurity, redundancy, debt and financial problems can all cause emotional distress.
But there are lots of things you can do to help yourself if you’re in a difficult situation.
David Richards, professor of mental health services research at the University of Exeter, explains how financial problems can affect your mental wellbeing. He also offers lifestyle tips to help you out of a slump and advice on when to seek medical help.
How financial problems affect mental health
When you’ve been made redundant or you’re struggling with debt, feeling low or anxious is a normal response.
Losing your job can affect your self-esteem and financial circumstances, which in turn can trigger emotional distress. Fear of redundancy can also lead to worry, which is a very common human emotion.
You may be feeling, behaving or thinking in ways that are unfamiliar. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re suffering from depression or an anxiety disorder.
How can you feel more positive?
Professor Richards’ top tips for coping with feeling low and anxious are: “Be more active, face your fears, and don’t drink too much alcohol.”
- Being more active means not withdrawing from life. Keep seeing your friends. Keep your CV up-to-date. Don’t ignore the bills – try to keep paying them. If you have more time because you’re not at work, take up some form of exercise, as it can improve your mood if you’re feeling low. See Get fit for free for ideas on how to exercise without spending any money. You can also search for exercise classes and sports clubs close to where you live.
- Facing your fears means not avoiding things you find difficult. For example, if it looks like you’re going into debt, get advice on how to prioritise your debts. When people feel anxious, they sometimes avoid talking to others. Some people can lose their confidence about driving or travelling. If this starts to happen, facing up to these situations will generally make them easier.
- For some people, alcohol can become a problem. You may drink more than usual as a way of dealing with or hiding your emotions, or just to fill time. But alcohol won’t help you deal with your problems and could add to your stress. Get tips on how to cut down on alcohol.
– via www.nhs.uk
Changing the Way You Think
One of the most important steps you can take when it comes to getting back control when you’re stressed about money is to change the way you think about the situation. Once you have a handle on your thought life, you will see how much of an impact your thoughts have on everything else.
There are two main ways to stop worrying about money: Changing the way you think and changing what you are doing. By applying both changes to your life, you will have the greatest impact on your quality of life, health, and relationships.
1. Get a Mantra
The more positive energy you feed yourself, the more you will believe and embody it. One way of doing this is to get a mantra to repeat. You can say it to yourself every time you begin to worry or post the mantra in places where you will often see it, such as your bathroom mirror or computer monitor.
Some ideas for mantras include:
- Worrying changes nothing.
- My life is full of blessings.
- I’m good at dealing with financial challenges.
2. Draw from Your Faith
If you are religious or spiritual, now is the perfect time to draw peace and comfort from what you believe. Many people turn to their faith in times of need, and your faith can allow you to let go of your fear of the future. Know that you will be taken care of. Try praying or meditating to clear your mind and find peace.
3. Count Your Blessings
All too often we focus on the negatives in life, which is one reason why so many people worry. A good practice to combat worry is to focus on the positives. One way to do this is to write down five positive things that happened during your day. Do this every evening before bed for at least two weeks. If you cultivate an awareness of what you’re thankful for, you will naturally be more positive and can better tackle any problems, including money.
4. Focus on Today
Many of the worries we have are far off, such as “What happens when my savings run out?” or “What if I don’t save enough for retirement?” or “What if I owe taxes next year?” While you do need to have a plan in order to tackle these situations, focus on your life today and what you can do with your finances this very moment.
For instance, think about whether or not you need to buy a latte or save the money. Or consider making an appointment with your financial adviser to discuss your retirement plan, or your accountant to look at your taxes.
5. Accept What Life Throws at You
You can’t be prepared for everything that life presents. For instance, tomorrow your house could be destroyed by a natural disaster like a fire or tornado. There is no way to predict or prevent such a tragedy, though you can plan for it. In this case, make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy is solid. Once you’ve planned for it, let the worry go. Tragedy can strike, but you will be okay and you will move on.
– via www.moneycrashers.com
Are you stressed about money? Are you ready to start taking back control of your thoughts and positivity today?