Debt and other financial problems can cause great mental and emotional distress, but what may surprise you is that your debt may be making you physically sick as well. According to a recent study, 73% of Americans cite financial problems as a leading cause of stress in their daily lives. The more dire the financial situation becomes, the more your stress level rises.
Stress can be directly related to physical symptoms such as headaches and other aches and pains. More troubling is that it is very common for people to lie awake thinking about their debt, which leads to even higher stress levels because of lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to additional health issues, such as a weakened immune system, increased anxiety, muscle tension, and slowed reaction time. Increasing concern over debt can also lead to unhealthy activities such as abusing alcohol, smoking, or overeating, which in turn carry their own health risks.
The good news is that there are coping mechanisms you can employ to help alleviate your financial problems and the accompanying stress.
- Take Things One Step at a Time. If you focus on the magnitude of your debt, it is overwhelming. Try to take things one step at a time and one day at a time. Meeting with a financial advisor, a counselor, or an attorney will help you put your mind at ease and set your sights on what steps you can take in the short term to improve your long-term financial, physical, and mental health.
- Do Not Let Your Debt Define You. Your debt is part of the financial aspect of your life, it is not your whole life. Focus on the positive aspects of your life: your family, your friends, your pets, your job, your hobbies, and what makes you happy on day-to-day basis. If you keep perspective on what is really important and maintain a positive outlook in dealing with your financial problems, it will help to avoid getting engulfed by the stress your debt creates.
- Create a Budget. Although many aspects of your financial problems are out of your control, creating a budget is something you can control. Creating (and sticking to) a monthly budget will allow you to provide for your reasonable necessary monthly living expenses, but will also allow you to save a portion of your monthly income. Creating a budget is a good way to allow you to take back a bit of the control over your financial situation, and will be a very important aspect of your financial life going forward.
- Get Help Sooner Than Later. There are many resources that can help with different aspects of your financial problems, and it is important to find and take advantage of those resources. For example, at Running Law Firm, we guide clients through their debt to a future where they are not burdened by debt and financial stress. We strive to improve our clients’ financial health, and overall health, by helping them eliminate debt.