Financial Stress

July 20, 2009

Financial stress has many causes. For some, job loss or illness has made it difficult to make ends meet. For others, the volatility of today’s stock market is a major area of concern. But whatever the reason may be, financial stress can take a serious toll on one’s health.

Financial stress is a frequent trigger of mental health issues such as depression. Worrying about how you’re going to pay the bills and put food on the table can take over your thoughts, and it becomes difficult to enjoy the good things in life. Another common issue is anxiety, which may be accompanied by scary panic attacks.

Depression and anxiety can lead to physical health problems. These may include stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and insomnia. Left untreated, stomach ulcers can cause dangerous internal bleeding, and high blood pressure and insomnia increase one’s risk for a heart attack and other serious problems.

As you can see, financial stress can be the precursor to a nasty chain reaction. Here are five ways you can fight financial stress and avoid these grave health concerns.

1. Take time to enjoy the good things in life. When you can’t see past your financial troubles, you may forget those things that once put a smile on your face. Force yourself to forget about your troubles and do something that makes you happy, such as reading a good book, playing with your children or participating in your favorite sport or hobby.

2. Be proactive. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for yourself when it comes to money woes. While that may be warranted at first, the only way you’re going to get through it is to work at it. Sit down and think about ways to cut expenses and/or increase your income, then act on them. Even if you just make a small amount of progress, you’ll feel some relief and an increase in confidence.

3. Find a shoulder to cry on. Being upbeat is best, but sometimes a dire financial situation is going to get you down. When this happens, talk to a trusted friend or family member. She may be able to give you some good advice. Even if you don’t want advice, having someone to use as a sounding board will take some of the weight off of your shoulders.

4. Use stress relief techniques. A simple bubble bath can work wonders for your state of mind. If you want to try something more sophisticated, meditation has been proven effective against stress. Other things you might try include aromatherapy and massage.

5. Think about the things you’re thankful for. When you’re obsessing over your finances, take a break and think about the things that you do have. Better yet, write them down. This will help you see that financial security is only a small part of the big picture.

Stress is normal when we experience financial issues. But if you let it take over your life, your health will suffer. Fighting back will make you feel better, both mentally and physically.

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One Response to “Financial Stress”

  1. Ken Lempit says:

    Great advice, Walt. Thanks for helping us “keep our heads on straight.”

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