Stress is said to be responsible for 80% of all doctor’s visits. In a survey done by the American Psychological Association, 73% of people listed money as the number one factor that affects their stress level. Many people become stressed or anxious due to financial issues.
Check out these statistics:
- Results from a 2005 American survey revealed that 53% of working Americans indicated they were experiencing moderate or high levels of financial stress. (Canadians aren’t very far behind.)
- Financial worries have been cited as the leading cause of chronic stress, causing 25% of people to miss approximately 16 days of work per year.
Physical stress related illnesses include; headache, chest pain, fast heart beat, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, muscle aches, clenched jaws, fatigue, insomnia and more. Chronic stress causes anxiety, restlessness, worrying, irritability, depression, sadness, anger, mood swings, feeling of insecurity, lack of concentration and a tendency to blame others for how you feel. Many people see only the negative aspects of situations when stressed.
Money, or lack of it, creates many different attitudes: power or failure, pride or shame, freedom or enslavement, or feeling vulnerable. When people are in debt it affects one’s mental health: feelings of anxiety or overwhelm may take place, feeling of doom, not seeing a way out, enslavement, feeling like you’ll be paying off debts for life. These feelings can also affect physical health. When we are stressed, the stress response releases chemicals that can raise cholesterol, cortisol and adrenaline. This can lead to all forms of illness and reduced immunity as well as poor mental health.
Financial issues can also affect relationships. Money is one of the foremost reasons for arguments between spouses (excepting children!). We live in a disposable society so we’re always shopping – for a new phone, or computer, a flat screen TV, a larger, fancier car that we deem as ‘necessary’ for our standing in the community. Money creates many attitudes. If you have more money than others in your family, you may feel misplaced guilt. If you have less, self-esteem can sag. The best scenario is to seek self-reliance through financial knowledge and common sense.
Ten Tips to Manage Money Wisely and Prevent Anxiety
1) Know where your money is going; note if you are saving, investing wisely and spending appropriately for your income.
2) Decide if you need to invest in further education to advance yourself or whether you need to take on extra part-time odd jobs for a short time.
3) Make a budget; list how much you will spend on various expenses in your life. Stick to it.
4) Shop for items on sale and cut back on unnecessary expenditures.
5) Eat at home more often. Restaurant bills call pile up.
6) Leave credit cards at home when you go shopping – or don’t go to shopping malls.
7) If your credit cards are maxed out and you’re paying merely interest each month, see if you arrange a credit line at your bank to pay off the debt at a much lower interest rate.
8) Renovate modestly instead of moving to a new house.
9) Move to a city or town that has cheaper rent or property values – and a good public transport system.
10) You may need to cash in some investments for a short time until the employment climate improves.
Finances can often paralyze action and cause a great amount of worry. Some coping skills include:
- Remember that constant worry doesn’t help matters.
- Take some deep breaths and assess where your money is going.
- Decide on an action plan to get your finances in order; face it head on instead of sweeping it under the carpet.
- Don’t keep financial secrets from your spouse or partner; decide together how you will face this problem.
- Socializing with friends at each other’s homes with pot luck dinners, and cooking more instead of eating in restaurants are obvious ways to cut back (and still enjoy life.)
- If faced with any stressor the best practice for stress-relief is to go for walk – especially in nature; this enjoyable act can reduce feelings of anxiety; or exercise vigorously.
- Try some deep breathing techniques focusing on your breath. Get centered and calm so that you can see a clear plan of action.
- Enlist positive self-talk strategies: instead of “I’m always broke and never will have any money”, think, “I am a good money-manager and will be even better in the future.”
Enlist the aid of a financial advisor – even one at your local bank branch or other investment counselor to help you sort out a plan, one that takes into account recessions. Trust your capabilities that you can take charge over your financial situatuation. There’s always an answer.