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Financial Stress - How It Affects You and What You Can Do

Break Free From Financial Stress

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Updated May 29, 2014

Caucasian woman paying bills on computer
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Financial stress is a sadly widespread experience. According to a poll on this site, roughly 7 in 10 respondents are "very stressed" about money, and only 1 in 10 report that they are not stressed about finances — and the proportion of people stressed about money is only going up. This is pretty significant because financial stress is linked to health problems like depression and sleep problems. With the rising cost of gas and food, the mortgage crisis, and the new bank troubles we're seeing, many Americans are feeling the crunch of financial stress. Anxiety over money can negatively affect health in several ways:
  • Unhealthy Coping Behaviors: People experiencing financial stress can be more likely to numb their anxiety by drinking, smoking, overeating and practicing other unhealthy coping behaviors. This in turn leads to more stress.
  • Less Money For Self-Care: With less money in the budget, people who are already under financial stress tend to cut corners in areas like health care to pay for basic necessities like food. Small problems can go unchecked and turn into larger problems. This also leads to more stress.
  • Lost Sleep: When under financial stress, people often experience trouble sleeping, which can add up to a sleep defecit, impairing immune functioning and cognitive abilities, causing additional moodiness, and more.
  • Unhealthy Emotions: Credit card debt can cause unhealthy emotions that can take a toll on health. People can experience anxiety, frustration and a sense of hopelessness as the debt piles up and increasing amounts of money are needed just to pay the interest. This causes additional stress, which compounds with the stress from poor coping and self-neglect, to become a menacing amount of stress.

It’s no wonder financial stress is one of the leading causes of stress in Americans. Here are some resources to help you handle your financial situation and feel more in control of your life, reducing stress and helping you build toward a more secure future:

As you work on improving your financial situation, you can reduce stress by practicing stress-reducing techniques and making other changes to create a low-stress lifestyle. By following the advice provided in the above links and making these lifestyle changes, the burden of financial stress can soon be a thing of the past!

See also: How To Deal With The Stress of a Financial Crisis

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Sources:
Hall M, Buysse DJ, Nofzinger EA, Reynolds CF 3rd, Thompson W, Mazumdar S, Monk. Financial strain is a significant correlate of sleep continuity disturbances in late-life. Biological Psychology, February 2008.

Kaplan GA, Roberts RE, Camacho TC, Coyne JC. Psychosocial predictors of depression. Prospective evidence from the human population laboratory studies. American Journal of Epidemiology. February 1987.

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