Financial insecurity and instability are one of the biggest stress factors. Money is the greatest source of stress for the average American adult and the American Psychology Association (APA) says “money stress” can lead to all kinds of chronic health complications.
The American Psychology Association (APA) says that 72% of Americans are stressed by money worries[i]. So, if you have debt or mortgage to pay, perhaps you live in a rented place and the end of the month feels like a death sentence with all the financial liabilities waiting for you at the end of every month.
Effects of money stress on health
Although stress in general can be debilitating but money stress is the worst of its kind, it can be a multi-pronged physical and mental problem, which can leave a person in a health disaster.
Some of the ways in which money stress can affect your health are:
Effects on physical health
Stress can lead to many adverse effects on the physical health of a person. These include headache, anxiety, lack of motivation, change in appetite, constant fatigue, insomnia, restlessness or depression among many other health complications [ii]. If these symptoms or the stress behind them are not alleviated then it can lead to further aggravation of symptoms.
Delaying seeking healthcare
According to a study, 54 percent of Americans said that they delayed seeking healthcare in the past year due to the high costs. Another 23 percent said that that delayed healthcare for a year due to the high level of cost[iii] associated with it. Delays in seeking healthcare by turning small complications at the onset into huge disastrous complications.
Financial stress leads to poor mental health
Numerous studies have linked financial stress to mental health issues such as anxiety disorder, depression and a higher risk of suicide. Financial stress is one of the leading factors in developing the onset of numerous psychological disorders[iv]. Financial stress leads to a feeling of being out of control of your life. This can lead to the individual avoiding to face problems, seeking temporary relief.
Coping with financial stress
To get the control of your life back again. It is important to understand the mechanics of what and why is it happening to you. Because, keeping your head is the only way to get out of this situation. The very first thing you have to figure out is how to cope with stress and the factors contributing to it.
What is the debt-cycle?
Debt cycle, simply put, is when you have acquired so much debt, that you are paying more debt than the amount you are earning[v]. This can put you off in the red-zone. You might borrow more to pay off your current debt or loans. This vicious cycle will grow and put you in a very peculiar state which might lead you to default. The only way to avoid a debt cycle is to understand that you have a problem, making a comprehensive spending plan, stop using credit cards and to keep track of your spending and changing your habits.
Extra sources of earning
If you have financial goals. If you want to improve your finances, then you need to get extra sources of earning[vi]. It can be through active or inactive investments or a skill that you sell (Writing, editing videos, photography) or anything which creates a side earning. Sites such as Upwork, Freelancer and others are a good platform where you can provide services. Remember, these earnings not only help you earn a little extra, they can lead to your over-all growth.
Minimize your budget
The importance of frugal living can not be denied. With a constant bombardment of advertisements [vii], a heavy social proofing through influencers, we are constantly pulled to buy things that are essentially and utterly useless. So, learn to live with a minimalistic lifestyle and concentrate on growth and output rather than to consumption and spending.
[i] “Speaking of Psychology: The stress of money/Webpage,” www.apa.org, Linda Galo, Accessed on 03 Apr 2020, https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/financial-stress”
[ii] “Stress symptoms: effects on your body behavior/Webpage,” www.mayoclinic.org, Staff, Accessed on 03 Apr 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987”
[iii] “Over half of Americans delay or don’t get health care because they can’t afford it—these 3 treatments get put off most/Webpage,” www.cnbc.com, Shawn Cartem, Published on 29 Nov 2018,https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/29/over-half-of-americans-delay-health-care-becasue-they-cant-afford-it.html
[iv] 7 reasons Mental Health Issues and financial issues tend to go Hand-in-Hand (and it has nothing to do with the cost of treatment)/Webpage,” www.inc.com, Amy Morin, Accessed on 04 Apr 2020, https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/7-reasons-mental-health-issues-financial-issues-tend-to-go-hand-in-hand-and-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-cost-of-treatment.html”
[v] “Get out of the debt cycle/Webpage,” www.thebalance.com, Justin Pritchard,Published 25 Jun 2019,https://www.thebalance.com/get-out-of-the-debt-cycle-4054269”
[vi] “113 legitimate ways to make extra money on the side/Webpage, www.breakingtheonepercent.com, Jeff Proctor, Published 09 Mar 2020, https://www.breakingtheonepercent.com/make-extra-money-list/”
[vii] “Advertising makes us unhappy/Webpage,” www.hbr.org, Nicole Torres,Published Jan-Feb 2020 issue,https://hbr.org/2020/01/advertising-makes-us-unhappy”