Financial Stress - How It Affects You and What You Can Do

Break Free From Financial Stress

Caucasian woman paying bills on computer
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Financial stress is a sadly widespread experience. According to a poll on this site, roughly 7 in 10 respondents are "very stressed" about money, and only 1 in 10 report that they are not stressed about finances — and the proportion of people stressed about money is only going up. 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.

Anxiety over money can negatively affect health in several ways:

Unhealthy Coping Behaviors

People experiencing financial stress can be more likely to numb their anxiety by drinking, smoking, overeating and 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 health care 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, causing additional moodiness, and more.

Unhealthy Emotions

Credit card debt can cause unhealthy emotions that can take a toll on 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 from poor coping and self-neglect, to become a menacing amount of stress.

It’s no wonder financial stress is one of the leading causes of stress in Americans. Here are some resources from The Balance that will help you handle your financial situation and feel more in control of your life, reducing stress and helping you build toward a more secure future:

Understand The Debt Cycle

Learning how to understand debt and how we get into it is a first step to getting yourself out of this trap. This resource 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 cash flow. That is a great way to relieve stress.

Learn to Live on Less

Getting comfortable with budgeting and living on less can help with saving. 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.


Don't Forget General Stress Management!

As you work on improving your financial situation, you can reduce stress by practicing stress-reducing techniques and making other changes to create a low-stress lifestyle.

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!

Hall M, Buysse DJ, Nofzinger EA, Reynolds CF 3rd, Thompson W, Mazumdar S, Monk. Financial strain is a significant correlate of sleep continuity disturbances in late-life. Biological Psychology, February 2008.

Kaplan GA, Roberts RE, Camacho TC, Coyne JC. Psychosocial predictors of depression. Prospective evidence from the human population laboratory studies. American Journal of Epidemiology. February 1987.

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