Feeling stressed? We can all get a little frazzled from time to time, and now there’s an entire month dedicated to stress management and understanding. April is National Stress Awareness Month (we think it’s no coincidence that taxes are due in the middle of the month), so we’re calling attention to the negative effects of financial stress in hopes that others can take a step toward in improving their physical health by becoming more financially sound.
So, what’s happening when our finances have us stressed? When we’re constantly worrying about making it until next payday or struggling to pay down debt, those figurative “headaches” turn into literal headaches – increasing chances of suffering from migraines to 44%, according to a study by Purchasing Power. That same study found an even more startling statistic–all that pressure can cause a 500% increase in anxiety and depression. People who are struggling financially are two times more likely to experience a heart attack and three times more likely to suffer from ulcers or digestive issues because of such stress.
Stressing about money ultimately leads to even more trouble when we consider that those health problems invite hefty medical bills. It becomes a vicious cycle that can be difficult break. Those complications can also cause unexpected absences from work or school and shift your focus from what’s most important. Financial stress doesn’t go away when you leave the bank or close the checkbook, but you can learn to manage it.
It may sound cliché, but when you start feeling stressed, stop for a moment and just take a deep breath. Remind yourself to relax and try to have a laugh. It may feel unnatural at first, but you ultimately have the power to change your outlook. Treat yourself to immune-boosting snacks like blueberries, strawberries, whole grains or honey – even chocolate can be great for busting stress (in moderation, of course).
As for long-term changes, consider meditating and exercising more frequently. They’re both natural stress-relievers that give you more energy and keep you feeling good, even when those little stressors are trying to take you down. Get to bed at a decent time each night and try to snooze for 7-10 hours. You’ll be more alert and better equipped in your day-to-day life.
Of course, you can’t get rid of financial stress by making lifestyle changes that totally ignore your money matters. Make a point to organize your financial life and determine what’s troubling you the most. Once you’ve identified those key stressors, you can make a real plan to tackle them and get back on track. Seek out the help of a coach if need be–they can help you deal with those big issues and toss that anxiety by the wayside.
Financial stress shouldn’t be anyone’s downfall. A few small changes can make a big difference in the way you deal with your anxiety … and your wallet. Always keep in mind that you’re in control of your money–it’s not the other way around!
Get your money in order this April for Financial Literacy Month
Check out these free resources!