Suffering From Financial Stress Try These 7 Steps
Everyone experiences financial stress from time to time. Whether you suddenly lost your job or you find yourself with a budget that no longer fits your needs, this stress is a normal part of life.
Financial stress can be resolved, but first, you must face reality, admit theres a problem, and take positive action to regain control over your finances by creating a strategy. Follow these seven simple steps to achieve financial freedom, and say goodbye to your money worries.
Bring Mindfulness Into Your Financial Actions
Try going through your expenses one at a time and breathe slowly and deeply as you look at what you need to purchase versus what you want to purchase, said Desi Bartlett, MS CPT-ERYT, creator of Desi Bodymind. Make one financial decision at a time and stay present in your body as you do. Notice if a purchase makes you feel an instant spark or a deep sense of peace in knowing that you are using your finances to take care of that which nourishes you, your home and your health.
Realize Money Isnt The Be All End All
Somers says even in the midst of financial stress its important to count your blessings to stay grounded and hopeful. Always remember there are other resources in life than money, other sources of joy and meaning, she says. It also helps to balance debt repayment with other priorities, including self-care, Clayman says. Too often, people think they can only feel better once the debt is paid off. But the better approach is to help yourself feel secure that your needs will be met even as you work to get to a zero balance, she says, adding one way to do this is to give yourself credit for the progress you’re making. For every year of on-time payments, for example, find money in your spending plan to treat yourself to something you enjoy as a reward for a job well done, she recommends.
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Tips To Deal With The Health Impacts Of Financial Stress
If financial stress is impacting your health and relationships, here are some tips to help you through this difficult time:
- Stay on top of your emotions Write down your worries to help you work out which issues to tackle first.
- Look after your health Eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly. Talk to your doctor if you have a pre-existing medical condition that could be aggravated by stress.
- Identify people you can talk to about how you are feeling and who will help you remain positive.
- Be honest with your family Tell them about the situation and how it might affect the household budget. If your relationship with your partner is under stress, contact Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 for support, advice and counselling.
- Draw up a budget Write down a summary of your finances and work out how much money you need to cover your costs. You may need to limit your spending for a while. Putting aside some money for bills, creating an emergency fund and paying for essentials first can all help ease the stress.
- Contact your bank Most financial institutions have policies in place to assist customers experiencing financial problems. The Australian Bankers Association website has lots of information about dealing with banks.
- Contact a social worker on the Centrelink Employment Services Line Call 132 850 or visit a Services Australia customer service centre.
Take Pride In Your Progress
Clayman says sharing the progress you make toward debt elimination with loved ones can also help destigmatize your situation. This not only helps you feel supported and accountable, it may even inspire others to share their debt repayment journeys with you as well. Decreasing our sense of isolation or personal shame can be a significant way to combat debt stress and keep us on track, she says.
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Benefits Of Paying Off Debt
There are many benefits to paying off debt, including:
- Lower stress: Perhaps the most significant benefit of getting your debt burden under control is alleviating the emotional stress of carrying it. The psychological benefits of paying off debt can be felt almost immediately as you get debt under control. You can lower your risk of mental health issues like anxiety and depression, and also improve sleep and focus.
- Ability to focus on other financial goals: 78% of respondents in the Northwestern Mutual Planning and Progress survey1 indicated that debt has impacted their ability to reach financial stability. Once you clear up debt, you can become stable enough financially to begin to pour more resources into other goals, like investing, retirement planning, and saving.
- Alleviate conflict in your relationships: Finances are cited as one of the top reasons couples get divorced. So it makes sense that eliminating debt and the associated financial stress can help alleviate some unnecessary arguments. You can also become a better teacher for your children and help them understand the benefits of eliminating debt and not taking on a stressful debt load in the first place.
- Improved credit score: Often, those struggling with debt end up with late or missed payments that can hurt your credit score. Paying off debt and getting a handle on monthly payments means you may see improvements in your credit score over time.
How To Deal With Debt Stress And Get Debt Relief
Debt affects more than just our financial well-being having money problems can also affect our physical and emotional health, which is why its important that we understand how to deal with debt stress.
Debt and stress often go hand-in-hand. When weve fallen behind on our payments and our creditors begin calling, its common to get overwhelmed with worry as we start wondering whether well ever get our finances back on track.
If youve found yourself overcome with debt-related stress, below are some strategies you can use to help you deal with debt stress and get debt relief.
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Feeling Waves Of Emotions
If you’re suffering from waves of emotions, it can be related to your financial woes. Here are some common emotions that are associated with debt stress:
Shock and denial
Learning to understand your emotions will help you in identifying your debt stress. Its not unusual to pretend as though the debt doesnt exist.
Denying the amount of debt you have allows you additional time to absorb and process it. However, unlike most types of denials, its important to remember that denying the debt is costing you money.
Feeling anger is normal. Perhaps you’re angry at the company that laid you off, or you’re angry that the medical care system in the United States is the most expensive health care system in the world. But anger can be masking some of the resentment and bitterness you might feel about the very situation you are in.
Debt stress can lead to irritability, and your anger might be redirected to other people. Anger can also be a symptom of feeling sadness or fear.
Guilt and shame
Guilt and shame can lead to avoiding seeking help and having money conversations. Often people feeling guilt or shame will become increasingly secretive and might avoid social interactions. If you feel withdrawn when the subject of money comes up, you might be experiencing guilt or shame.
“Debt stress” related depression
Feelings of hopelessness
It might feel as though it will take centuries to get out of debt. The key here is to remind yourself that with a plan, debt freedom is possible.
Get Help With Your Finances
Another way to reduce your financial stress is to talk to a professional. Many organizations offer free financial counseling so that you can get expert opinions and advice about how to get your finances in order. A financial advisor can also help you make a budget and give you the tools that you need to stick to it.
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Where To Get Help
Even though debt can feel looming, there is help available to cope with financial stress and find ways to manage money better. From organizations to support groups and debt counselors, various professionals who are experts in money management and debt relief can help you begin to tackle your financial stress.
- National Foundation for Credit Counseling: The NFCC is a national directory of nonprofit credit counselors. It provides debt advisers who can help you perform a financial review, establish a budget and create a personalized financial action plan.
- American Psychological Association: The APA has published a series of guides, resources and content related to psychological science. APA is made up of 122,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Youll find numerous articles and guides on debt and financial stress.
- Debtors Anonymous: This 12-step recovery program is designed for those experiencing unmanageable debt. Meetings are offered across the U.S. face-to-face or virtually.
Tip : Manage Your Overall Stress
Resolving financial problems tends to involve small steps that reap rewards over time. In the current economic climate, its unlikely your financial difficulties will disappear overnight. But that doesnt mean you cant take steps right away to ease your stress levels and find the energy and peace of mind to better deal with challenges in the long-term.
Get moving. Even a little regular exercise can help ease stress, boost your mood and energy, and improve your self-esteem. Aim for 30 minutes on most days, broken up into short 10-minute bursts if thats easier.
Practice a relaxation technique. Take time to relax each day and give your mind a break from the constant worrying. Meditating, breathing exercises, or other relaxation techniques are excellent ways to relieve stress and restore some balance to your life.
Dont skimp on sleep. Feeling tired will only increase your stress and negative thought patterns. Finding ways to improve your sleep during this difficult time will help both your mind and body.
Eat healthy food. A healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and omega-3s can help support your mood and improve your energy and outlook. And you dont have to spend a fortune there are ways to eat well on a budget.
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When Should You Get Medical Help
Most people who experience emotional distress will pick themselves up after a few days or weeks and then feel able to tackle challenges, such as finding a new job.
See a GP if you’re still feeling worried, anxious or low after a few weeks. If you think it will help, the GP can advise you about psychological therapy services in your area.
You can also refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service near you.
Seek help immediately if you cannot cope, if life is becoming very difficult or if you feel it is not worth living.
Either see a GP or contact a helpline such as Samaritans for confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.
How To Get Out Of Debt And Put Debt Related Stress Behind You
You are not alone through your debt struggles. Get connected to the industrys best debt programs through financial experts who can offer debt consulting services with the necessary tools and expertise to help you take back control of your finances. With effective strategies and solutions to alleviate debt, know that it is possible to get back to a place where you can save money and live a debt free stress-free life. Take the first step today and find options on how to handle debt and work toward building a path to wealth.
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Dont Let Your Emotions Fall Prey To Debt Consolidation Vultures
While there are still some good debt consolidation firms out there, highly questionable firms are still lurking about. Before you try a firm that charges any fees, you should try your local Consumer Credit Counseling Service office. Located in every major town and city in the U.S., they can help you deal with your credit card debt and come up with a debt settlement plan you can afford.
If you do decide to go with a commercial debt consolidation company, review our blog post on new rules regarding the debt consolidation company disclosure requirements. Once you receive information in the disclosure, dont sign the contract right away. Read the information carefully so you know what you are getting into.
Ways Your Financial Health Affects Your Mental Health
Overwhelming debt can result in stress and depression and has been linked to increased suicide rates. Money issues have also been linked to relationship instability, so both your sense of physical and emotional security can be at risk when debt is a constant presence in your life. The following are ways financial health can affect a persons mental health.
Creates additional stress
Stress, especially chronic stress that becomes part of your life for years, has a deeply powerful effect on your mind and body. Stress puts more wear and tear on your cardiovascular system. Constant stress makes it easier to develop mental health problems and can affect the parts of your brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Risk factors for mental illnesses
People in debt are three times more likely to take their lives than those who are not experiencing financial issues. Long-term financial insecurity and consistent poverty, as well as the pressure from lenders and debt collectors to pay bills, can trigger suicidal thoughts and actions.
Developing physical health issues
Debt can lead to anxiety and depression, which can increase headaches, affect sleeping patterns and impact a person’s ability to focus. This type of physical stress on the body can result in more frequent colds and infections and affect a person’s ability to go to work which further enhances financial struggles.
Affects families and communities
Developing behavioral symptoms
Increases poor spending habits
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Get Debt Help From A Non
Debt is a topic many of us arent comfortable discussing, so we tend to keep our struggles to ourselves and bear the burden on our own. And, this results in a constant state of worry and fear, which can affect our health, relationships, job performance, and how we function in our day-to-day lives.
When people are under stress, they often turn to a physician, or even a psychiatrist, for help. But when the cause of your worry or anxiety stems from financial problems, getting help may not seem as easy. However, what many people arent aware of is that you can get debt help through a non-profit service.
If you have money problems and youve been dealing with debt stress for some time, calling an accredited, non-profit credit counselling society is the best thing you can do for yourself, and for your finances. A credit counsellor will thoroughly go through your finances, help you put together a budget, and they will also provide you with a list of options that can help you get your finances back on track, all at no cost to you.
With a plan in place, youll feel a tremendous sense of relief knowing that youre well on your way to becoming financially free. If youd like to make an appointment to speak with one of our counsellors, you can give us a call, and one of our client care specialists will be happy to assist you.
Its Important To Know How To Deal With Debt Stress Before It Gets Out Of Hand
When our finances take a turn for the worse, our personal and professional lives can easily follow suit unless we know how to deal with debt stress. Ignoring our financial problems may seem like a painless thing to do, but by doing so well only be prolonging and worsening our financial problems.
Debt does more than limit your financial freedom the constant worry and fear about the state of our finances also puts a strain on our mental, emotional and physical health. If your financial worries are impacting your health, consider meeting with an accredited, non-profit credit counsellor.
A credit counsellor can help you put together a workable budget, restructure your debts so your monthly payments are at a manageable level, and direct you towards tools and resources to help you get your finances under control. You wont become debt-free immediately, but knowing that you have a plan in place will do wonders to help you ease your debt stress.
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How Your Mental Health Can Influence Your Finances
Just as debt can lead to mental health issues, mental health issues can also influence a person’s finances. Someone who is experiencing anxiety or depression may turn to poor financial decisions to cope. This can include making expensive impulse purchases and developing a shopping addiction. Depression can also lead to difficulties in working and keeping a job. In the U.S., depression causes 490 million disability days from work each year. When people experience mental illness, they may struggle to create and stick to a budget and pay their bills, which results in growing bills and debt.
A Guide To Coping With Debt And Financial Stress
According to an AICPA-commissioned Harris Poll study of 1,004 U.S. adults, 56% of Americans reported that their debt has negatively affected their lives. The survey also found that 28% of debtors stated their debt caused stress in everyday financial decisions 21% said it had caused conflicts with their partners and 19% indicated that collection agencies had contacted them.
Additionally, nearly a third of debt-burdened Americans worry about it in general, while a quarter think about it at bedtime. And, 18% admitted that they think about their debt at work.
Considering that the average American debt among consumers is $92,727, its also essential to understand why people are stressing over their debt. As a consequence, this can have an impact on all facets of your life. The effect can range from not being able to cover your monthly expenses to retirement planning. For example, 84% of borrowers claim that student loans have negatively affected the amount they save for retirement.
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