How to Cope With Financial Stress

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Financial stress is a widespread experience. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 72 percent of Americans are stressed about money at least occasionally and 22 percent feel extremely stressed about their finances. This is pretty significant because financial stress is linked to health problems like depression and sleep problems. With the rising cost of living, many Americans are feeling the crunch of financial stress.

How Financial Stress Affects Your Health

Anxiety over money can negatively affect your health in several ways:

  • Unhealthy coping behaviors: People experiencing financial stress may be more likely to numb their anxiety by drinking, smoking, overeating, or practicing other unhealthy coping behaviors. This, in turn, leads to more stress.
  • Less money for self-care: With less money in the budget, people who are already under financial stress tend to cut corners in areas like healthcare to pay for basic necessities like food. Small problems can go unchecked and turn into larger problems. This also leads to more stress.
  • Lost sleep: When under financial stress, people often experience trouble sleeping, which can add up to a sleep deficit, impairing immune functioning and cognitive abilities and causing additional moodiness.
  • Unhealthy emotions: Credit card debt can cause unhealthy emotions that can take a toll on your health. People can experience anxiety, frustration, and a sense of hopelessness as the debt piles up and increasing amounts of money are needed just to pay the interest. This causes additional stress, which compounds with the stress of poor coping and self-neglect, to become a menacing amount of stress.

    How to Cope

    Here's what you can do to handle your financial situation and feel more in control of your life, reduce your stress, and build a more secure future:

    • Understand the debt cycle. Learning how to understand debt and how we get into it is the first step to getting yourself out of this trap. This can help you to not only understand the cycle better but to extricate yourself from it. Once you know how to break out, you can work toward removing yourself from the high pressure of being in debt, and start building toward your future in a more positive way with simple habits that are easy to maintain.
    • Know when you need money and how to get it. If you're feeling stressed about finances, you likely already feel you need more money in your budget. However, knowing how to increase your financial holdings without creating significant stress for yourself can be tricky, too. Here are some proven tips for increasing your income, which is a great way to relieve stress.
    • Learn to live on less. Getting comfortable with budgeting and living on less can boost your savings. Here are some simple, low-stress tips for learning to maintain a budget that will keep you living within your means. When you have a plan, you can feel more in control of your finances, and this can help you to feel less stressed.

    By following the advice provided in the above links and making these lifestyle changes, the burden of financial stress can soon be a thing of the past.

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