Research shows that financial stress can have a large impact on mental and physical health. Here’s how to address the financial pitfalls in your life and adjust your financial habits.
Most Americans are going through the wringer when it comes to financial stress. Forty-four percent of Americans cite money as the dominant source of stress for them, while 69% of workers say they are stressed about their finances.
And when stress goes unchecked, it can have both emotional and physical detriments to one’s body. Indeed, research shows that those with higher levels of financial stress show more symptoms of anxiety and depression than those who are less financially strained. Plus, frequent headaches and a weakened immune system are among the most common symptoms of stress.
Here are three tips for handling financial stress and finding peace of mind about your money problems:
Making a budget each month will help you determine what big-ticket items you’re splurging on and where you need to cut back in order to stay out of the red. Studies show that many American consumers tend to spend more than they can afford, causing credit card debt to rise. Adhering to a budget helps to keep track of financial progress and can limit unnecessary spending.
Despite the proven benefits of tracking finances, research suggests that only 32% of American households create a written budget. And while payday loans and cash advance loans may be viable ways of getting cash fast when you’re short-changed, creating a budget can help to avoid the high-interest rates that often come with short-term loans.
Plus, if you’re like most Americans, chances are you aren’t prepared for a financial emergency. In fact, only 40% of Americans are able to cover an unforeseen emergency expense of $1,000, according to a survey from Bankrate.
Therefore some financial experts suggest following a 50/30/20 budgeting plan that recommends spending 50% of your income after tax on necessities, 30% on personal desires, and at least 20% on savings. Putting 20% of each monthly income provides a sense of security in the event of a financial emergency and can subsequently reduce monetary stress.
Speaking to a financial advisor might help to relieve some of your worries surrounding money.
Financial advisors offer a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding the best spending practices. Planners can also offer impartial opinions about your money and give insight into areas that can be steered in the right direction. With a third-party opinion, monetary issues might seem more bearable.
Advisors can be reliable tools for easing financial burdens, but they can often be expensive and stretch an already thin budget, even thinner. Therefore it is important to assess your financial bandwidth and decide if speaking to a financial advisor is the best course of action. Other options for reliable credit counseling may include:
In the face of financial concern, it is important to keep the body calm and maintain a clear mind, in order to address the situation at hand.
There are a number of breathing exercises experts suggest doing to help you relax in high-stress situations. The following techniques initiate the body’s natural relaxation responses and can help to keep one calm:
Creating a routine where you do the above exercises for 10 to 20 minutes at the same time and place each day, can greatly improve your overall wellbeing and response to stress.
To paraphrase Charles Dickens, the difference between a great year and a miserable one is coming out a dollar ahead instead of a dollar behind. That said, money might be just one of the many sources of stress in anyone’s life. Therefore, reducing stress in other areas can be beneficial. Here are some tips:
Reducing stress, financial or otherwise, can help you focus more on the things that really matter and better equip you to handle the financial ups and downs that life may throw at you.