Financial issues are a significant source of stress and anxieties for millions of individuals and their families across the world. From feelings of helplessness, to shame and depression, financial stressors undoubtedly take their toll on mental health, often leaving lasting scars in the process.
Reeling under any kind of stress for prolonged periods can manifest into physical symptoms, such as migraines, hypertension, breathlessness, and even panic attacks. This makes it pertinent to educate people on the various measures and mechanisms to adopt while going through such difficult periods.
In this article, we uncover the broad, lasting effects of financial stress, along with various tips, tricks, and best practices for effectively dealing with the same.
Understanding The Psychological Toll of Debt
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, at least 72% of Americans report feeling stressed out by finances at some point in their lives.
While short bouts of stress are perfectly fine, helping us become more resolute even, the same can cripple us to our knees, draining us both mentally and emotionally when it persists for extended periods of time.
It has been long established that people who struggle with debt and other forms of financial stressors are at a significantly higher risk of suffering from depression, anxiety, and a slew of other illnesses that often further impairs them from getting their finances under control.
The worst possible way in which debt impacts our psyche, is through feelings of shame and guilt, with being stuck in debt often considered to be tantamount to failure in most societies. This, however, is far from true, as almost everyone goes through this phase during the course of their lives.
Managing Debt & Financial Stress
If you are struggling with debt, and feel it affecting your mental health, the first thing to do is consult a mental health professional. With the right treatment, either with medications, or just therapy, you can keep your health from deteriorating further, leaving you unable to work towards a solution.
Next, make sure to seek support from friends and family members, and even if they cannot help you out financially by relieving you of some stress, they can definitely offer some much needed emotional support to get you through a difficult period.
Beyond these, there are a few practical measures that can be taken to leave you better off financially, at least in the short-term. This includes negotiating with creditors, taking financial counseling, and even debt consolidation loans, so that you won’t have to deal with the stress of multiple creditors.
None of these are magical remedies that can make your problems go away, but they can provide you with much needed respite, so that you can take stock, and get to work, instead of sinking under high levels of stress, frustration, and mental trauma.
Mindfulness & Financial Wellbeing
Mindfulness is essentially the practice of cultivating an awareness of the present moment, without any judgment or distractions. As it so happens, the root cause of all stress is worrying about the future, or fretting about the past, neither of which help work towards a possible solution.
The practice is particularly helpful for people struggling with depression and anxiety, ridding them of intrusive thoughts, and providing much needed clarity and focus during stressful times.
Mindfulness adds value in a number of other ways, from helping people stay attentive and mindful when spending money, to not giving into impulse purchases, which is how most people end up in debt. The practice further aids in keeping people focused on their goals, providing a great sense of financial control and security.
There is absolutely nothing shameful or embarrassing about struggling with debt, or going through a prolonged period of financial stress. As discussed above, it is just a phase that everyone goes through while they aim high and try to uplift their financial positions.
With the right advice, practices, and steps, most individuals can emerge from even crippling debt unscathed, before setting their sights on the promised horizon of financial freedom.