Guest Author - Reshma Vyas
Layoffs, unemployment, home foreclosures, dwindling savings and retirement accounts, the rising cost of food, gas, health care and just about everything else, the financial worries just pile up. We all think about money every day; how much we have and how much we need. It's impossible not to think about money. These days, though, many of us might be thinking way too much about money, so much so, that we may be totally unaware of the damaging toll our worries are inflicting on our physical and emotional health.
Financial stress is an uncomfortable reality. Money problems will always exist. There is no way to completely eliminate financial stress, but it does not have to run your life. If you feel emotionally and mentally overloaded by financial stress, there are steps you can take to reduce it.
Identify The Source Of The Financial Stress: Are you feeling overly anxious because you feel you don't have enough cash savings? Do you worry that you are not earning enough to pay your bills every month? Is your ballooning credit card making you feel on "edge" all the time? By making a list of your financial worries, you will be able to form an action plan to resolve those financial issues.
Identify Your Reactions To Financial Stress: When you feel financially stressed out, what is your immediate reaction? Do you reach for a bag of potato chips, a candy bar or giant mug of coffee for temporary, emotional relief? Is overeating the "remedy of choice" to the problem? Knowing how you react to financial stress can help you curb those unhealthy behaviors that can hurt your physical well-being in the long-run.
Keep A Money Journal: The main goal of keeping a financial journal is to provide a constructive outlet for expressing and organizing your innermost feelings, fears and thoughts about your money problems so you can reduce the amount of time you spend each and every day worrying. A money journal can also shed insight and clarity which can help you formulate proactive solutions for your money woes.
Be Good To Yourself And Others: Financial stress can ruin the quality of your life. It can affect your body image, confidence, moods, self-esteem, personal interactions, relationships with loved ones, disrupt your "normal" eating and sleeping patterns and cause you to take up an unhealthy life style by becoming overly sedentary, gambling, smoking and/or drinking excessively. People who suffer from financial stress may complain of "anxiety and/or excessive nervousness", "body or back aches", "tense muscles", "a feeling of physical lethargy" or "general exhaustion", "headaches" or "migraines." The more time you spend thinking about your financial problems, the more power you give those worries to do harm to your physical and emotional health.
The only way to effectively cope with financial stress is to find solutions to your money problems but you can't do that, unless you take good care of your mental, emotional and physical health, first and foremost. Getting a balanced perspective is essential to getting and staying emotionally healthy. Stop blaming yourself and others. Count all the good things in your life. There is always someone else in far worse shape. It's trite but true! Make a list of 5 things you like about yourself. Find ways to reduce the anger and frustration. Focus on activities that make you feel happy, productive and most of all, in control of your life.
Do Not Be Afraid To Seek Help: Don't isolate yourself. There are many nonprofit organizations that can provide guidance on qualified resources and services. If needed, talk to a professionally trained counselor or join a support group. Knowing you are not alone in your difficulties is a great comfort.
Financial stress can sneak up on you when you are most susceptible; when you are worrying about your savings account balance, the diminishing value of your investments or how you are going to pay this month's electric bill. If not reined in sufficient time, it can completely take over your life, leaving you in a state of emotional paralysis and weakened physical condition. By taking control of your attitude towards financial stress, you will then be able to create a practical action plan to resolve your money problems.
For informational purposes only.