Sleep deprivation, anxiety, melancholy, low self-esteem, paranoia, and hopelessness—when questioned, the average person could think of these as signs of poor mental health. While it is correct, these feelings are also prevalent signs of poor financial health.
The link between one’s financial and mental health is strong. And, while various initiatives, campaigns, and courageous individuals have made it so that the conversation about mental health is no longer avoided over the last 10 years, there is still a lack of public awareness about how one’s financial situation can negatively impact not only one’s mental health but also their overall wellbeing.
The connection between mental health and financial health is stronger than many people believe. Stress caused by financial difficulties is frequently chronic.
In the latest CreditWise poll, released in December 2020, financial concerns were ranked as the top stressor. According to findings, finances are the most common source of stress (73 percent), being reported as a major source of worry more frequently than politics (59 percent), employment (49 percent), and family (49 percent) (46 percent ).
Financial stress was ranked first in 2019 according to the 2019 Everyday Health United States of Stress poll. Individuals who are under substantial financial stress are twice as likely to report general ill health and four times more likely to complain of diseases.
Financial stress is a type of emotional tension that is directly tied to money. Anyone can experience financial stress, but low-income households are more likely to experience it. Stress can be caused by not having enough money to cover your necessities, such as paying rent, bills, and groceries.
Causes of Financial Stress
1) Income Loss or Reduction
Anyone can experience a sudden decrease in income at any time. You may be fired or laid off unexpectedly from your job, or the firm for which you work may go out of business, leaving you suddenly unemployed. A severe economic downturn or another unforeseen scenario may force you to accept a significant wage cut to regularly keep your job. Whatever the reason, if you don’t have any money to fall back on, you can find yourself struggling just to cover your most basic bills, such as rent, utilities, and food.
2) Unexpected Costs
Large unanticipated expenses, such as significant medical bills or a costly car repair, are another major source of financial difficulty that can lead to financial stress. To deal with unexpected costs you can apply for an online payday loan.
Divorce is one of the most common and serious sources of financial difficulties. Divorce is such a financial drain on both parties that statistics show that the percentage of bankruptcy filings for single mothers in the United States is 300 percent greater than the national average.
4) Failure To Manage Your Finances Properly
Even if you have a substantial income, you can find yourself in financial difficulty if you do not handle your money properly. Expenses, such as credit card payments, can add up over time, and a person may find themselves in financial difficulty. It’s critical to always keep a close eye on your finances.
How Does Financial Stress Affect Your Health?
Financial stress can appear to be out of your control at times. You are not alone if you feel this way. Many folks are stressed and concerned about their financial position. When you’re in financial trouble, worry and stress may take over your life.
It can lower your self-esteem, make you feel imperfect, and fill you with hopelessness. When financial stress becomes unbearable, your mind and health can suffer as a result.
Financial stress can lead to:
Worrying about overdue debts or a loss of income can keep you tossing and turning at night more than anything else.
Stress can cause your appetite to be disrupted, prompting you to overeat frantically or skip meals to save money.
Living under the shadow of financial difficulties can leave anyone feeling sad, helpless, and unable to concentrate or make decisions. People who are in debt are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression.
Money can be a safety net; without it, you may feel vulnerable and nervous. Worrying about overdue debts or a loss of income can cause anxiety symptoms such as a racing heart, perspiration, shaking, or even panic attacks.
Financial troubles can clip your wings, causing you to withdraw from friends, limit your social life, and retreat into your shell—all of which will exacerbate your stress.
Physical ailments such as headaches, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are examples of physical ailments. In nations where healthcare is not provided for free, financial concerns may induce you to postpone or avoid seeing a doctor for fear of incurring further costs.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Coping mechanisms like excessive drinking, prescription or illegal drug abuse, gambling, or overeating. Money issues might also lead to self-harm or suicidal ideation.
How to Cope With Financial Stress
Here are some coping strategies for financial stress:
1) Make a Single Financial Decision at a Time
When people are faced with several, back-to-back decisions that put their willpower to the test, research shows that their willpower is easily drained. Instead of making too many financial decisions at once and being overwhelmed, spread them out.
2) Keep Track of Your Spending
According to research, tracking can be a useful tool. Make a daily record of how you spend your money.
3) Determine Your Financial Pressures
Take inventory of your financial condition and the areas where money causes you concern. Make a list of ways you and your family can cut costs or manage your money more effectively. Then, commit to a plan and review it regularly.
Although this can be stressful in the short term, making a plan and sticking to it can help alleviate stress. If you’re having difficulty paying your bills or staying on top of your debt, get assistance by contacting your bank, utilities, or credit card provider to set up a payment plan.
4) Recognize How You Deal With Financial Stress
To relieve stress during bad economic circumstances, some people may turn to unhealthy pastimes such as smoking, drinking, gambling, or emotional eating. The tension can also increase friction and disagreements between partners.
Be on the lookout for these behaviors, and if they are giving you problems, consider seeking treatment from a psychologist or a community mental health clinic before the situation worsens.
5) Steer Clear of Temptation
While it may not be possible to avoid shopping malls and stores entirely, limiting your time spent there can help you manage your expenditure. Instead of buying, engage in a social activity. Avoid impulsive spending by keeping credit and debit cards at home and bringing only the cash you can afford to spend.
6) Self-care Should Be Practiced
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical for stress management. Try to exercise for 30 minutes per day—move your body in any way that feels good to you. This benefits both your mental and physical wellness. Walking is a terrific method to get a workout in while also relieving tension.
Make time to unwind. Though financial stress might be overwhelming, keep in mind that there are options available to assist you to manage both your stress and your finances. Take some time to relax, meditate, participate in an enjoyable activity, and interact with people.
7) Consult a Financial Advisor
A financial advisor can provide you with experienced guidance on how to handle money concerns. They can assist you with budgeting and developing a plan to become financially healthy today and in the future.
Financial stress can harm your mental health. Stress, in general, can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and a variety of other major health problems, regardless of its source. Understanding the effects of financial stress on your mental health and what you can do to prevent or decrease it can put you on a much better path.