Simple Ways to Reduce Money Stress
It’s hard not to have money on your mind. In good times and especially bad times, money is a constant source of consideration and concern.
That’s why it’s not surprising to learn that half of all young adults in America (aged 25 to 34) believe that worries about money have a negative impact on their health. Even in a perfect economy, there will always be something to worry about, and that stress can be damaging – in more ways than one. That same survey found that 53 percent of young adults felt that money stress had negatively impacted their personal relationships.
Money stress is normal, and while you can’t avoid it entirely, there’s a lot you can do to manage and overcome it.
Don’t Ignore Financial Problems
Try to avoid pretending that the stress you’re feeling isn’t there. Denying your worries or acting as though they aren’t justified will only make matters worse.
Recognize that you’re stressed and that it’s okay to feel that way. After all, it’s very difficult to solve a problem if you refuse to accept that you have one. Simply acknowledging that you're struggling can be very cathartic.
Talk about Your Money Issues
No matter what specific issue is causing you stress, you're almost certainly not alone. There is tremendous value in simply sharing your experiences – your fears and personal pains – with sympathetic friends and others dealing with similar problems. It’s a great way to relieve some of your burden, put your problems into perspective, and see how others have dealt with similar situations.
You don't even need to frame the conversation around solutions. Just letting someone know what you're dealing with can be extremely freeing.
Never Stop Doing Positive Things for Yourself
If you’re stressed about money, there’s a good chance you’ve stopped doing a lot of things you might otherwise be doing. Money woes can often cause us to freeze up out of fear of making things worse, or because we feel like we don’t “deserve” to have fun.
While it’s definitely a good idea to be cautious with your money when you’re feeling financial pressure, you should absolutely continue to do positive, fulfilling things for yourself. You should eat right, stay connected socially, and take care of your mental health. Do your best to avoid letting money problems spread to other parts of your life.
Staying physically active is an enormously effective way to battle through any kind of stress. If money has you tied up in knots, go for a walk. It costs nothing and can go a long way towards making you feel better.
Try not to lose your routines. If you're stressed you may not feel like you can "afford" to exercise or do other physical activities, but cutting off those outlets may end up making you even more stressed out.
Money stress usually derives from either a lack of income, a wealth of debt, or some combination thereof. Understanding how to better manage money, how to shop smarter, how to use credit wisely, and how to build your savings – among other topics – can help you feel more in control of your finances, which will go a long way towards relieving your stress.
Try to Maintain Perspective
If you’re feeling really overwhelmed with money worries, try to take a step back and maintain perspective. There’s almost always a solution, and while things may feel dire right now, chances are good that if you find the right plan and do the necessary work, you can put yourself in a much better place.
Take Active Steps to Make Things Better
Perhaps the most important way to reduce money stress is to attack the root cause of that stress. Strive to understand the core problem. If you have too much credit card debt, how did that happen? If it’s because you spend more than you can afford, try to understand the motivation behind that behavior. There’s probably a feeling or emotional motivator a couple layers below the more obvious surface problem. Try to figure out what really happened and take active steps to change your behavior and create a less stressful situation for yourself.
If you’re stressed about your income, consider what it might take to get a raise, move into a higher paying job, or add a second income. If you have more debt than you can handle, a debt management plan may be a good way to save money and simplify your monthly finances. Try to find the solution that works for you and make continuous progress towards those goals.