Money and Stress: How Financial Woes Can Feel Like The Weight of The World

Financial woes are a huge cause of stress in anyone’s life. Money problems have a way of seeping into every aspect of life from marriage to work. Unfortunately, they are also common, as people tend to live up to their means. In fact, CNN reports that 72 percent of the people they polled indicated feeling stressed out about money. With the recent economic downturn, financial issues are front and center in many households, and left unchecked, the stress can ruin your entire life. Whether you’re struggling to make ends meet or suffering from anxiety about another potential downfall, there are ways in which you can keep the stress from overtaking every part of your life. 

Don’t Take It Personally

With our finances determining how we live our lives (i.e. where we live, what we do after work, what kind of vehicle we drive, etc.), it’s difficult not to think of them as extensions of the personality. However, many people’s personalities consist of more than just their job. If you’ve suffered a layoff, been passed over for a promotion, are stuck in a dead end job, carry a lot of debt or any host of other situations, it’s easy to see it as proof that you’re not a good person or that you don’t deserve to be financially stable.

Author Jane Bianchi wrote an article for Forbes called Stressed About Money? 6 Ways to Combat It. In the article she lays out the perils of “all or nothing” thinking. To people who tend to take financial problems seriously, Bianchi gives the following advice: “One rejection doesn’t mean you’re never going to be successful. First, ask yourself if you’re blowing this into a bigger deal than [it] is, and if you’re doing some extreme self-blaming, ask yourself what you’d tell a friend who had this happen to him.” Although you are struggling at the moment, it’s most likely that things will change in the future, so rather than stressing about what you can’t control, it’s better to control what you can. 

Be Adaptable

Many financial advisors and investment professionals offer tips on how you can cut spending and save money, but for many families, these tips aren’t enough. There may come a time in which you are faced with some tough decisions such as when to walk away from your house or file for bankruptcy. These choices aren’t easy, and you’ll likely have to deal with the long-term effects. According to an article on The Simple Dollar called Dealing With Money Stress, adapting your views to your new situation can go a long way toward relieving your stress.

One effective way of [adapting to your situation] is to look at the big picture. If you have something stressful in your life, it’s likely that the situation is bringing both positives and negatives into your life and that, on the whole, the stressful aspects are worth it.” Nobody wants to make hard choices like moving back in with parents or letting the house go, but sometimes, they are necessary. However, they also give you a chance to reset and vastly improve your financial picture so you won’t be in the stressful situation again. Rather than focusing on how the choice at hand makes you feel now, think about the opportunities it will give you in the long run. 

Have a Plan

Many people who have anxiety disorders already can get caught up in the gloom of bad financial news. They can tend to see everything as catastrophic. The American Psychological Association advises people who get caught up in this type of thinking to devise a plan. “Take stock of your particular financial situation and what causes you stress. Write down specific ways you and your family can reduce expenses or manage your finances more efficiently. Then commit to a specific plan and review it regularly. Although this can be anxiety-provoking in the short term, putting things down on paper and committing to a plan can reduce stress.” While it’s not possible to prepare for every possible angle, having a plan in place can help anxiety prone people to allay their fears. 

Money stressors can play a huge role in causing stress and anxiety, but they don’t have to control your life. For most people, these problems are temporary, and learning to react to them as such can go a long way toward alleviating your stress. By taking stock of what is stressing you out with regard to your finances and coming up with a plan to deal with it, you can calm yourself and push money issues to the back burner.