Have you ever wondered about the impact financial debt has on your physical and mental health? As it turns out, money struggles may be taking more of a toll on your body than you realized. And you aren’t alone. According to the American Psychological Association, “Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of adults report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time and nearly one-quarter say they experience extreme stress about money.” The truth is, financial stress is a real problem in America that is impacting more than just our pocket books.
In this article, we define stress and discuss identifying and managing financial anxiety.
- What is Stress?
- Identify your Stressors
- Make a Plan to Manage Financial Anxiety
What is Stress?
Stress is your body’s normal response to the demands of life. A small amount of stress can actually be a good thing. Positive stress is the excited feeling you get when going on a first date, anticipating a vacation, hoping to get a promotion at work, or riding a roller coaster. Stress only becomes unhealthy when it continues for an extended amount of time and does not give your body an opportunity to relax. Negative stress not only affects your mental health, but according to PsychCentral, "it can also have a significant impact on your physical well-being.” With prolonged exposure to stress, you may experience symptoms including:
- Weight Gain
- Memory and Concentration issues
- High Blood Pressure
- Muscle pain
No part of your body is safe from chronic stress. It impacts all systems of your body, but by taking actionable steps, you can reduce the negative impacts and live a longer and healthier life.
Identify your stressors
The first step to managing your stress is to identify triggers. Make a list of the top issues you are facing right now. Some examples may include illness, feeling strain in your personal relationships, trouble with your education, restricted finances, and concerns with safety and security. If you identify the number one stressor as money, you are not alone. A recent study by Stress in America found that 65% of Americans surveyed indicated they were stressed about money; the highest figure recorded since 2015. Adding to everyday financial stressors, the rising cost of day to day necessities (gas, groceries, utilities) was reported as a significant stressor by 87% of respondents. Once you have identified your stress triggers, it’s time to make a plan.
Make a Plan to Manage Financial Anxiety
Setting financial goals, maintaining a budget and cutting costs could alleviate a large part of your financial stress. Spending time with family and friends has also proven to be a healthy way to fight stress. It’s important to remember to give yourself grace and set realistic goals. Engage in activities you enjoy that may include but are not limited to:
- Taking a walk
- Listening to music
- Family Game Night
- Bubble Bath
It’s also a great idea to cut down on screen time, eat a balanced diet, and get plenty of rest. Stress management should be an ongoing part of a healthy lifestyle.
Stress won’t disappear from your life completely, but by identifying the sources of your stress and actively maintaining a stress management plan, you can reduce your stress level, improve your mental and physical health, and enjoy life a little more.
Learn more about how EQL may be able to help you manage financial anxiety and achieve financial wellness.