Facing Financial Insecurity? Lower Your Stress Levels
A new survey suggests that 9 out of 10 people feel stressed about their finances. Two thirds of people say that they stress about finances more than they did 12 months ago, and 4 out of 10 claim that their finances cause anxiety. People also say that they’ve gained weight, suffered from depression, experienced a lowered sex drive, couldn’t concentrate, had problems sleeping, and lost their sense of humor because of the state of their finances.
If you find yourself among this majority of the population, take a deep breath. While there’s no immediate solution to financial stress, there are some things you can do to lower your personal stress levels. This will help you assess the problem more accurately, address it more directly, and overcome it more quickly. It will also help keep your medical expenses down, as stress is one of the main causes of some major health problems.
Though it may feel entirely counterproductive, particularly if there are things you want to do to investigate or help your situation, find a dim, quiet place where you can have ten minutes to yourself. Get into a comfortable position — sitting or lying are the most common. Let your thoughts wander for a few minutes until they start to settle down.
Close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Don’t change anything about the way you breathe. Feel your chest rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. Let your thoughts bounce away as they come.
When your 10 minutes are up, give yourself a little while to re-acclimate. Open your eyes slowly, taking in the room and the light. When you’re ready, go back to your day. Hopefully, you’ll find what many before you have found: that focusing on your breath refreshes you and rejeuvenates your mind.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by financial difficulties. The problems seem to loom out of control, so large that they will never go away. To lower your stress levels, you’ll want to get them back in control.
If you’re under a lot of stress, you’ll probably want to get some help with this. While good financial help will probably cost you something and spending more may feel like the last thing you want to do, consider it an investment in your health and your future.
Get some help in getting a realistic view of your debt, your income to expense ratio, and what you need to do to get things under control. Negotiate interest rates, consolidate debt if you need to, and see if your professional help can get some of your debt forgiven. Do whatever you need to in order to come up with a plan that will make things better.
Giving yourself and your situation some time is probably the hardest thing you can do in a tough financial place. It feels like your stress will continue to grow, maybe exponentially, as time passes.
However, it takes time for financial situations to get better. While you don’t want to sit back and do nothing, getting a plan in place and then giving it some time let you address the problem without losing yourself (and your mind!) in it. Since you can’t fix the problem by letting your thoughts fixate on it and constantly churning it over in your mind, give it some space.
If these solutions don’t lower your anxiety, talk to a doctor. Talk therapy or medication may be necessary to lower your stress levels to a place where you can not only deal with them, but with your overall financial situation.