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Financial Stress
« on: July 29, 2009, 05:26:49 PM »

Financial Stress - How It Affects You and What You Can Do
Break Free From Financial Stress
By Elizabeth Scott, M.S., About.com - Updated: October 17, 2008

Financial stress is sadly a widespread experience. According to a poll, 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 issues are among the leading causes of stress in Americans.

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(In the original article at About.com there are links to additional resources to help us get a handle on our financial stressors. Follow the link below to access those helpful links.)

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

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:

Find Out Where You Stand:
Do you have a major money problem, or is your situation relatively under control? Ask yourself these questions and find out how much help you need to get on the right track.

Learn About Implementing Systems That Can Help:
Find out why budgets are important to your financial success, and learn how to create one that will fit well with your lifestyle.

Work Toward Getting Out of Debt:
Getting out from under credit card debt is much easier with a plan. Here’s a three-step approach that can help you.

Learn How to Save Money and Cut Costs:
Keeping a budget and working toward reducing what you owe is easier if you have more money. Here are some ways to hold onto more of yours!

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!

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How about you and your family?  Are you feeling the financial crunch?  Has your household income dropped from a layoff or downsizing?  Commission checks or work hours being cut?  Have you lost your house or had to move because you could not afford the payments? 

If you are one of the 7 out of 10 who are 'very stressed' about your finances, is your health beginning to suffer?  Have you noticed changes in your mental well-being?  Are you noticing changes in friends and co-workers who may be feeling additional stress?  How are you coping with these changes? 

If you need help with your stress levels, The New York Times article Coping with Financial Stress offers some additional resources.
 
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