It’s no secret that money problems like debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and not having enough money to pay bills can put a damper on your mood and self-confidence. But did you also know that common money problems can have a significant negative effect on your health? Here are just a few ways financial problems can wear down your health.
Stress is often related to money problems. A study from Northwestern University in Chicago indicated that household debt and money problems can negatively impact the mental and physical health of young Americans. The study also indicated high blood pressure levels for people who had money problems along with severe stress and even some depressive symptoms.
The results of this study are not really that surprising. Even I have felt stressed out about my financial situation from time to time but I never let those negative thoughts consume me. It takes a lot of determination, motivation and sacrifice to improve your finances and at first, it can seem like no progress is being made. It just takes time and you can’t expect yourself to turn everything around in a short period of time.
Even reading other personal finance blogs about people who pay off record amounts of debt or double their income or savings in a short period of time can stress you out when you compare your situation and over analyze all your efforts. It’s important to remain level-headed and positive about the outlook of your financial future. Extreme levels of stress can lead to painful ulcers and having anxiety about your situation is not going to be good for your health overall in the long run.
Money can’t necessarily buy happiness, but it can in fact keep you from becoming extremely depressed. Being in debt without a clear plan of how to get out can leave you feeling trapped, hopeless and depressed with your situation and your life. Depression may not occur at the start of your financial problems but after a while, financial issues can start weighing a person down.
Lifehacker referenced a study stating that people with financial problems are nearly six times as likely to experience severe depression. Sometimes people can fall into depression by being under the impression that no one else understands what they are going through and isolating themselves.
Don’t make the mistake of believing that you’re the only person with financial problems because there are plenty of other people going through similar situations. It’s important to realize that everyone is at different stages of their journey and there will most likely always be someone who appears to be doing better than you, along with someone who appears to be doing worse.
Headaches, Migraines and Insomnia
According to medical expert insight from WebMD, there are several different potential causes associated with developing a migraine, but they can also be linked to stress over money problems related to retirement, job loss, legal problems and so on.
Being goal orientated is one thing, but becoming fixated and borderline obsessive about your financial issues is not good for your overall wellbeing.
Financial pressure can be a daily occurrence for most of us. Whether you’re worried about your rent or mortgage, bills, going over your budget, etc., it can be extremely overwhelming to think about those kinds of financial responsibilities constantly. Financial worries tend to cause anxiety that can keep you up all night or worse, developing migraines and headaches.
How to Turn it All Around
Now that we’ve talked about health issues that can be caused by financial problems, I wanted to offer some helpful solutions to help manage money and stress. I’m not a health professional by any means, but these suggestions are commonly used, very easy to implement and may make a huge difference in the way cope with your financial situation to avoid letting it get the best of you.
Talk to Someone: Do you talk to anyone about your financial situation or do you just keep it all to yourself? Keeping things bottled in will not make you feel better. The best way to release your negative feelings is to find someone who is trustworthy and understanding to talk to. Just being able to express your thoughts can be very therapeutic and you can even approach a professional financial adviser to help offer support and financial guidance as you navigate through your issues.
Develop a Realistic Plan of Attack: If you want to improve your financial situation you can’t allow yourself to become stressed out or depressed. Creating a realistic plan to pay off debt, increase your income, spend mindfully or improve your budgeting skills will help get you on track.
Depending what your goals are, you can start by tracking your spending and assessing your income. If you currently don’t make enough to meet your goal in a reasonable amount of time, you can always look into ways to earn extra money. Next, you may want to work on reducing your expenses and tracking your progress. When you create a realistic plan it brings order to your life, helps you reach your goals faster and reduces your chances of letting your financial problems take over your health.
Take a Break, Stop Overworking Yourself: One of the most important things to understand about the financial journey is that it takes time and plenty of effort to reach your goals. Just because it takes lots of effort and sacrifice doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to a break. If your goal is to pay off debt in the next 5 years you can’t expect to never do any time fun or indulge for the entire time. Take a day off to relax, visit a local attraction, enroll in that art course you’ve always wanted to try or go out to dinner with friends. The key to staying healthy is to take a break every now and then and stop and enjoy life.
Get Plenty of Rest: Sleep is just as essential for adults as it is for children. Your body needs at least 8 hours to rest to replenish itself so you can be at your best energy level each day. Try to avoid ‘crashing’ at the end of the day and allow yourself 15-20 minutes to just relax and drink some tea or meditate before lying down. You’ll wake up refreshed and rejuvenated when you give your body the rest it deserves.
Improve Your Diet: Money problems can negatively affect your health along with your diet. Do you become an emotional eater when something is bothering you? Or do you just stop eating altogether? Eating a healthy breakfast in the morning is crucial if you want to remain healthy and focus on your tasks for the day. Try to include lots of green vegetables, fruit and raw nuts in your diet along with some protein (whether it’s meat or not). These types of foods will help you look and feel your absolute best.
Exercise and Get Active: Exercise has been known to combat stress and improve your overall well being. Whether you feel stressed or not, you should still try to exercise at least 3 times per week. Living an inactive lifestyle can open the door to several other health issues that can be avoided. If you’re not a big fan of exercising, don’t throw in the towel yet. There are plenty of other ways to stay active including playing sports, going for walks, yoga, dance, and swimming. The list goes on and on. When you find an activity that’s right for you, use it as an outlet to release frustration, alter your focus and improve your overall mood by creating positive energy.
Adopt a Positive Attitude: I know it sounds cliché, but a positive attitude can make a big difference. Being positive can impact your finances, career, social life and more. If you tend to think things won’t get better they probably won’t and you won’t even have the motivation to take advantage of opportunities that could allow you to improve your situation. Remaining positive helps you maintain control of your life and your future.
Have you ever felt stressed out by financial problems? What do you do to prevent money issues from causing health problems?
Disclaimer/Author’s Note: I am not a licensed health professional and the content in this post is for informational purposes only and the suggestions mentioned should not be taken as medical advice without researching the topics further and consulting with a health professional. If you are experiencing any health related issues that you think could be attributed to stress or depression, you should consult with a health professional.