When we're stressed about money, it's not just our bank account that gets hit. Financial stress is one of the most common and persistent forms of stress in the world. Managing money is a big part of being an adult, and when that doesn't go well, it can feel like nothing else is going well.
What is financial stress?
Financial stress is a state of worry, worry, or emotional tension about money, debt, and upcoming or current expenses. Money is one of the most universal sources of stress.According to a 2015 report by the American Psychological Association (APA), 72% of Americans feel stressed about money. Typically, income is inversely proportional to financial stress. The less you do, the more stress you experience and the less resources you have to deal with and manage that stress.
What are the symptoms of financial stress?
The symptoms of financial stress are similar to anxiety and other types of stress, but they change the way we think, feel, and behave about money. Financial problems may be affecting your life if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Anxiety symptoms such as shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat when you think about money
- Avoiding phone calls, mail, and contact with creditors
- Canceling social plans and avoiding friends
- Feelings of shame or embarrassment
- Feeling like you are losing control of your finances or unable to keep up
- Anger or irritability with people involved with your finances, such as a family member with whom you share the bills or a manager at work who has set your paycheck
- Worry, worry, or hopelessness about the future
The effects of financial stress on your overall health
Because financial stress is often a form of chronic stress, the impact on your health and well-being can be serious. People with chronic stress are generally more likely to experience:
You may experience insomnia or stay awake at night with money worries. This creates a feedback loop because less sleep makes it harder for you to deal with the effects of stress.
Lack of interest in self-care
Because of money worries, you may cut back on your self-care routines or give up some to save money. These may include your gym membership, haircut, dining out with friends, doctor visits, or alternative treatments such as acupuncture.
Weight loss or weight gain
Stress can cause you to overeat, using food to dull or soothe difficult emotions. However, you may find that stress completely suppresses your appetite and causes you to lose weight. Financial problems can further disrupt your normal eating habits, making you feel compelled to skip a meal or two.
Unexplained aches, pains and physical health problems
Stress can manifest as physical symptoms such as headaches, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stomach problems. It can make it harder for you to prioritize healthy habits like getting enough sleep or eating healthy food.
The relationship between financial stress and mental health
Chronic stress also affects mental health. In fact, the symptoms can be so severe that they can mimic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When you feel like you can't get ahead of the bills no matter how hard you work, it can destroy your self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy. It can make you miss meetings and events, isolating you from friends and family and making you feel like you should stay at home. You may spend all your time (and emotional energy) worrying about bills, waiting for your next paycheck, or wondering if you can handle an emergency.
4 tips for dealing with financial stress
If you're feeling overwhelmed by financial stress, the first thing you should do is deal with the stressful feelings. Anxiety tends to steal our sense of self-control and our ability to find solutions. Here are some ways to combat financial stress:
1. keep calm
You probably won't change your finances in a minute or two, but you can certainly change your perspective and immediate stress level. You can eat a small snack, drink a glass of water, or do breathing exercises.
2. Make a plan
Financial stress often causes us to avoid everything related to finance, mail, bank accounts and money. However, you can regain control by dealing with your money. Take a look and see if you can pinpoint exactly what is stressing you out. An overdrawn bank account, credit card debt, fear of losing your job, or an upcoming acquisition? How can you make something feel more manageable?
3. Ask for support
Do you have a great friend in budgeting? Ask them for help. Read blogs and books on personal finance and money management so you feel more secure and in control. See if you can share certain expenses with a family member or ask a creative friend to help you find ways to make more money.
4. Practice mindfulness
Dealing with financial stress is a two-fold challenge. There's dealing with money, and then there's dealing with stress. Practicing mindfulness exercises like breathing work, yoga, or meditation is a great way to combat feelings of anxiety, and it's free.
Situations where you cannot manage your financial anxiety You can get support from Tappy specialists and you can start receiving mental health support with a therapist that fits your budget from the salary scale.