5 Reasons to Stop Worrying About Money

Mother and adult daughter embrace in the kitchen.

If you've ever felt like money and money problems take up way too much of your thoughts and mental energy, you're right. A study from Bankrate found that 52% of Americans cite money as the number one cause of stress and anxiety in their lives. More than work, more than relationships, more than current events, and even one's own health, money is stressing us out.

It's totally understandable why money might keep us out at night. The margins are pretty thin for the average American family these days, and even a slight setback can have massive financial repercussions.

But all that said, worrying is inherently unhelpful. It actively makes our lives harder while solving no problems. So while it's easy to say, "Don't worry" and not quite so easy to stop worrying, especially in the face of significant challenges, let's make the case for why we're all better off worrying a lot less about money.

Worrying doesn’t accomplish anything

Most people recognize this, but it’s still human nature to worry. There’s nothing wrong with worrying and you certainly shouldn’t feel bad about it, but all too often we allow worrying to become the thing we do – the only thing we do. Rather than taking proactive steps towards a solution, we let worry bolt us to the floor.

The time and energy we spend worrying is usually time and energy that would be better spent doing literally anything else. Even if you weren't actively working toward a solution for your problems, simply spending less time worrying would make the rest of your life so much more pleasant.

If you can do something, do it

The fastest way to reduce your anxiety about money (or anything) is to do something. Even it’s just talking to someone, taking real action makes you feel better almost instantly. If you can’t sleep because you're stressed about money, then get out of bed and do something. Make a plan. Do some research. Pick up the phone and make a call. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to sleep with a little positive progress at your back.

And don't think you need to solve it all in one go. Small steps count. Anything you can do to actively improve the situation is worth celebrating.

If you can’t do anything, you can’t

You do what you can, when you can. But sometimes there might not be anything more you can do.

Once you’ve done everything you can to improve the situation, you have to sit back and accept that there isn’t anything further you can do. That can be really hard, but it's important to be fair with yourself. You did what you could. You did it to the best of your ability. Worrying about things that are out of your hands is natural, but not helpful. So, to the best of your ability, try to let things go when they're out of your control.

The good outweighs the bad

Problems, including money problems, have a way of occupying exponentially more space in your mind than they really deserve. That’s not to say that your problems are inconsequential, but it’s important not to let your worries and fears drive all of the good stuff out of your mind. Because there is good stuff – there’s always good stuff. We just tend to let the bad or less-amazing things in life overshadow the positive.

So flip the script. When you find yourself worrying and you’ve done all you can, turn your focus to all the secretly awesome things in your life.

Help is available

Asking for help isn’t easy. But sitting on your problems, losing sleep, and suffering whatever other symptoms of stress and anxiety isn’t great either. Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Get your problems out in the open. Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help, like the nonprofit counselors at MMI.

  • Worried about a potential foreclosure or eviction? We offer free housing counseling to help you stay in your home.
  • Worried about bills that your paycheck can't cover? We offer free credit counseling to help you create an affordable, balance budget.
  • Worried about expensive high interest credit card debt? We offer the debt management plan to help you reduce interest rates and save lots of money.

Money is just a part of your life. When it’s tight or when you struggle, it might feel like the biggest part of your life. But you don’t do yourself any favors by letting money worries push everything else aside. So take action! You might not be able to stop worrying altogether, but you can do a lot to control those worries. At the very least, you’ll be able to sleep a lot better at night.

Tagged in Psychology and money, Self care, Debt strategies

Jesse Campbell photo.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, with over ten years of experience creating valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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