How to Deal With the Unhealthy Stress Caused by Debt

How to Deal with Financial Stress

Stressed out?

We all know that paying down debt has positive effects on your finances.

But have you ever realized that it can have positive effects on your health and overall well-being too?

It’s true!

Getting out of debt has intangible benefits and can help you become a happier and healthier person.

Last year when I became debt free, I discovered first hand, how interconnected being in debt is with the overall health of your mind and body.

Four of the five top causes of deaths in America, being heart disease, stroke, cancer and lower respiratory diseases, can be triggered by stress. One of the main stressors on our bodies is the financial problems we encounter everyday.

How Debt Affects Your Health

Having stress related to debt, is a much more pervasive and difficult kind of stress, because it’s so integrated with other areas of your life. It affects your physical, mental and emotional state, and can lead to serious health issues.

According to a CNN poll, money in general is the world’s greatest source of stress.

Those of us who have large amounts of debt, are negatively impacted when it comes to our health. Highly debt-stressed people are more likely to:

  • Lose sleep at night
  • Have severe anxiety
  • Take stress out on others
  • Experience severe depression
  • Have ulcers and other digestive problems
  • Have heart problems and migraines

This is something that affected me a lot personally. I used to deceive myself into thinking I was great with money (I’m an accountant after-all) and I would ignore the mountain of debt I was accumulating.

I’d lose sleep at night thinking about all my money issues, then I’d wake up feeling anxious and tired. I’d get angry with my friends and family, and the work at my job suffered because of my moods and lack of sleep. Debt stress also affected my body with endless migraines and stomach problems.

Does this sound familiar? Are you in the same situation?

There’s still hope! No matter what your financial situation is or how stressed out your debt is making you – there’s always hope to change your future. You just have to be willing and dedicated to make it happen.

How to Deal With Unhealthy Financial Stress

A survey by the Associated Press, found that people with high stress levels were more likely to experience health problems. To combat this, here are the steps you can take to reduce your stress levels:

Get a grip. If you’re serious about the overall health of both yourself and your finances, it’s time to get a grip – literally. Get a handle on how much debt you owe, what your income is, and the expenses you’re paying out every month. This is the only thing that will bring you back down to financial reality.

Make a plan. Once you’ve been shocked back into reality with your money, it’s time to make a plan. Start with a simple spending plan or budget, and make a plan for how you’ll overcome the debt obstacles in front of you. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you be sure you’ll get there?

Take action. Now that you know your spending habits, it’s time to take action to change your behavior and start changing your future. The old you was stressed out, overwhelmed and out of control. But the new you is less stressed, hopeful and more in control of your debt. Make this year, THE YEAR you take action and stop letting debt affect your health.

Stick with it. Tackling your mountain of debt is no easy feat, but there are things you can do to lighten the load. Use your friends and family as a way to get you out of debt for good. Start implementing strategies that will change your spending habits. Find healthier ways to cope with your stress. Don’t give up!

Avoid the Debt Cycle

Stress from debt is a vicious cycle; the more financial problems you have, the more stressed you become which turns into costly health issues, which increases your money stress. And round and round you go.

But as you pay down your debt, you’ll reduce the amount of your physical and mental stress. This breaks the cycle of stress and debt, and instead makes you a healthier and happier person.

Living without debt means you’ll feel better, have more peace and create a happier and more financially sound future. No matter what stage of life or debt you’re in, don’t let financial stress take over your life, because it could cost you dearly.

Even though I’m debt free today, I’ve learned one very important lesson. Money problems will always cause anxiety – if you let them. You’ve got to keep everything in perspective and take steps to reduce the toll debt stress takes on your body.

What tips can you share that help to relieve the unhealthy financial stress?

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Last Edited: January 17, 2013 @ 3:04 pm
About Carrie Smith

Carrie Smith is an ex small business accountant who now helps freelancers and entrepreneurs get out of debt and organize their lives, so they can fund their dream business. Find her on Twitter @carefulcents.

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