Are you under financial stress?

Chances are you are experiencing financial stress. According to research on Stress in America, 72% of people are stressed about money. With 22% saying that this stress about money is extreme.

Where is this stress coming from? Significant sources of money-related stress include:

  • paying for unexpected expected expenses (54% of Americans surveyed)
  • paying for essentials ( 44% of Americans surveyed)
  • saving for retirement (44% of Americans surveyed)

Financial stress extends beyond the interest you pay on Visa or MasterCard. The real impact is that money stress hurts relationships and is the leading cause of health problems.

The financial stress cycle

Whether you are keeping your head afloat and living from pay check to pay check, or swimming in a sea of debt; stress about your finances is likely to have an impact in three areas.

First, people who report higher levels of stress tend to engage in more unhealthy behaviors to manage this stress. For example, I knew a guy who didn't mind a glass of wine at night but he would often have a few more under higher levels of stress. 

Second, stress about money has the potential to lead to poorer decisions that perpetuate the money stress cycle.

Third, stress about your finances has a direct impact on your health. 

Breaking the money-stress cycle

Dealing with money stress involves

  1. taking control of your finances and 
  2. putting into place strategies of self-care to look after yourself.

Taking control of your finances

Do you need to organize a debt counselor, or organize debt consolidation or debt settlement?

Rather than being passive, taking control can reduce your stress. While I would love to provide you with a secret formula to make money or a seed that you can plant for a money tree, the steps to taking control of your finances are:

  1. Get a true picture of where you are at. Identify your incoming cash and outgoing expenses. It is a good idea to capture these objectively on a piece of paper.
  2. Budget. By putting your budget plan on paper and committing to it you do two things. First, you take control of the situation and second, you reduce the stress of a potentially difficult situation.
  3. Seek advice. Seek advice about your money problems and the steps that you are going to take to reduce your financial stress. Seek answers to the following questions from the professionals: Do you need debt consolidation? Do you need help with a plan of future expenses? These are questions that you can build into your budget plan.

Seek emotional support

It is important to recognize that you are not helpless in this situation. Talk to a friend, a loved one, or a financial counselor.

The important thing is to talk to somebody and not bottle up your stress. This can be shown in the graph below.

emotional support and financial stressThe impact of emotional support on financial stress


What is clear from the graph above is that those who have emotional support in the face of financial stress are:

  • less likely to have an increase in stress
  • actually experience less stress
  • are less likely to make lifestyle changes because of being too stressed
  • are less likely to feel depressed/sad as a result of stress

Prioritize effective stress relief strategies

It is too easy in the face of financial stress to avoid the stress by watching TV or surfing the net. Similarly there is a danger in the face of stress that we will smoke and drink more...which all contribute to the effects of stress on health.

In the face of financial stress there are a few things that you can do to reduce the impact of stress on you and your family.

Reframe your game

Money stress can be seen as something terrible or as an opportunity to pare down your priorities and focus on what is important for you and your family.

By seeing your new situation as an opportunity to re-assess priorities rather than as a failure can help you to reduce stress.

Look after your health

Eat well. Stress can lead to stress weight gain and general wear and tear on your body. Eating well can help to replenish the vitamins and nutrients that stress strips from your body.

Here are some ways that a balanced diet helps you to cope with stress.

Get physically active. Exercise reduces stress and improves your mood. Exercise helps to relax your muscles and use up all the accumulated stress products.

Whether you decide to go for a walk, swim some laps or take up dancing - planning something each day that you enjoy and gets your body moving can be beneficial for you.

These exercise and stress tips can get you started.

Focus on relationships

Money stress can extend beyond dollars and cents, creating conflict and harming relationships.

Focus on your relationship and identify low cost ways that you can bring enjoyment and fun into your relationship with friends and family.

› Financial Stress

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