Coping With Financial Anxiety

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Feeling overwhelmed is a normal response to financial issues. After all, struggling with debt, losing your job, or saving up for retirement is never easy. If you feel uneasy discussing money matters, you might be dealing with financial anxiety.

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America poll revealed that 72% of individuals feel stressed about money at least some of the time. When it comes to economic troubles, you are not alone.

This article will discuss what financial anxiety is, how it affects you, and how to overcome it. Read on to learn to cope with your monetary concerns.

What Is Financial Anxiety?

Financial anxiety is a feeling of unease toward your finances. APA has not recognized an official diagnosis for this condition, but it may sometimes share similar symptoms with anxiety, like nervousness, fatigue, and irritability.

Several factors might cause financial stress, from medical bills to unemployment to irresponsible spending. Like other types of anxiety, some components that cause stress in an individual might not impact another.

In some cases, financial anxiety symptoms manifest in less conspicuous ways, such as the ones below.

Overspending

Many people — even those struggling with financial anxiety — find temporary relief in retail therapy. Spending money can give your mood a boost, but it won’t solve your problems. Be mindful of overspending because it may become a vicious cycle that worsens your difficulties.

Extreme Frugality

On the flip side, people dealing with financial anxiety sometimes become frugal beyond reason. When this happens to you, keep in mind that there are better ways to address your problems than scrimping on life essentials like healthcare, home repair, and nutrition.

Discomfort With Wealth

People with financial anxiety sometimes don’t know what to do with unexpected wealth, including performance bonuses, insurance checks, or contest winnings. This attribute makes it challenging to create budgets or save up for future investments.

How Financial Anxiety Affects People

Anybody can experience financial anxiety, but the stress is particularly taxing for individuals trying to make ends meet. These people feel the pressure of having to pay rent, utilities, and food expenses.

While stressing about money is acceptable from time to time, it can become problematic if it affects your everyday life. Below are some of the effects of high financial anxiety levels.

Poor Physical Health

Like with other types of stress, financial anxiety can cause insomnia, migraines, and stomachaches. If you don’t address such symptoms, they could elevate into heart disease, diabetes, or ulcers.

Additionally, financial anxiety can affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses, infections, and colds.

Poor Mental Health

Financial anxiety may also affect your relationships with the people closest to you because of mood swings, tiredness, and lower sex drive. If you don’t address your stress, it may lead to depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Money-related PTSD affects one in four Americans. You don’t have to undergo severe trauma to develop PTSD. Sometimes, foreclosures, medical expenses, and massive financial losses are enough to leave individuals shell shocked.

Destructive Coping Mechanisms

When financial stress becomes too much to bear, you may feel tempted to engage in destructive coping habits, from drug use to gambling to overeating. While such patterns can help you escape reality for a while, they will only make things for you.

No matter how difficult things may seem, there’s always a better way to cope with financial anxiety than harming yourself. Keep reading to discover ways to deal with your stress.

It’s okay to indulge in self-care. Taking time out for just you may be the ticket needed to regain mental clarity. However, if you’re situation doesn’t appear to be improving, be sure to pick up the phone and reach out to a professional.

It’s okay to indulge in self-care. Taking time out for just you may be the ticket needed to regain mental clarity. However, if you’re situation doesn’t appear to be improving, be sure to pick up the phone and reach out to a professional.

How To Deal With Financial Anxiety

Sometimes, it can feel like your money concerns will never go away, especially during these uncertain times. However, with a steady income source, a plan, and a little help from your loved ones, you can overcome your financial anxiety.

It may take some time to achieve your goals, but these steps should help you get there.

1.    Identify What Causes Your Stress

The first step to dealing with financial anxiety is understanding what causes it. Which problems bother you so much that they keep you up at night? Is it your credit card debt, your increased rent, or your child’s college expenses?

When you pinpoint the source of your stress, it can help you determine your next move. You will feel much better knowing that you are doing something to address your fears.

2.    Make One Financial Decision at a Time

Sometimes, just the thought of being faced with multiple critical decisions is enough to overwhelm anyone. Don’t swamp yourself with too many problems at once, or you might feel uneasy even before you have to make a decision. Instead, focus on choosing one option at a time.

3.    Create a Monthly Budget

Developing a budget is one of the best things you can do to take back control of your finances. Creating one will help you understand your income and spending better, allowing you to decrease or increase spending on specific components.

For instance, you might discover that you spend too much on apps, cigarettes, or Starbucks. When you find factors you can cut, you can also decide where your savings will go. You can convert unnecessary expenses into student loan payments or retirement fund top-ups. 

4.    Avoid Temptation

Stay away from situations that might put you under more financial stress, like an online Black Friday sale. You might end up purchasing things you don’t even need. Remember that buying a $500 branded coat at 50% off doesn’t equate to $250 savings but a $250 expense.

5.    Ask for Help

No matter how heavy your financial problems may seem, having a support system around you can help you achieve your goals. If your troubles seem too much at times, share your concerns with your family and friends. You can also check out nonprofit organizations designed to help you get back on your footing, like MoneyFit.

Get Help From MoneyFit

MoneyFit has one goal in mind: to help individuals reestablish their financial stability. We’ve developed free counseling services and personal finance education programs through the MoneyFit Academy. If you ever feel down because of your money concerns, keep in mind that you are not alone. With hard work, determination, and a solid support system, you can one day overcome your financial anxiety.

Sources:

https://moneyfit.org/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/coping-with-financial-stress.htm#

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2021/03/one-year-pandemic-stress

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2018/04/16/seeing-signs-financial-anxiety-how-cope/500073002/

https://www.verywellmind.com/understanding-and-preventing-financial-stress-3144546

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/financial-stress

https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonmoore/2019/10/21/stock-market-crash-protection-strategies/?sh=8cab65821b15


Rick Munster

About the Author

Rick’s been with Money Fit by DRS for 18 years and early in his career, he managed two divisions, customer service, and credit counseling, before settling in his current role of managing the organization’s marketing efforts. He is known for being someone who’d give the shirt off of his back for you, and smile while doing it! He takes that positivity and problem solving to consumers when relaying a message of help, hope, and better times ahead. When he isn’t helping consumers regain control of their debt, he loves traveling and seeing new places.