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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to better handle financial stress

Financial stress.  Sound familiar?

Illnesses can be caused by many factors but one that most of us don't take to heart is through stress.  Stress can actually make you sick and can manifest in many ways including sleeplessness, anger, resentment, fearfulness and agitation.  It can sometimes even lead to severe anxiety or depression; therefore it is something to be aware of.
So how do you know if financial strain is taking too much of a toll and what can you do to help with stress management?  This article explains it all below:
Financial despair
Often times, those with symptoms of anxiety, stress or depression report feelings of high levels of stress associated with their financial obligations and monetary pressures. 
Habitually, men tend to take the burden of financial responsibility for their family and often associate their success and confidence with their capability to provide for themselves and loved ones. 
Debts can have a huge impact on your lifestyle and financial security.  High credit card balances, difficulty repaying the mortgage, and job loss are all bound to cause financial tension.
Frequent symptoms
Reactions to financial pressure often include stress, anxiety, muscular tension, insomnia, feeling of inadequacy, anger, depression, and powerlessness.  Sometimes emotional responses can become sever enough to cause suicidal thoughts or actions. 
Find Support
Support from a professional counselor or psychologist can help to ease the stress, anxiety and other symptoms associated with financial pressure or financial crisis. Counseling helps to lessen the emotional and psychological impact of financial crisis by discussing the underlying cause of your symptoms and providing techniques that will help to reduce or minimize the impact of your stress and anxiety.

Top tips

The American Psychological Society endorses the following tips to manage stress:

1. Pause but don’t panic
There are many negative stories in newspapers and on television about rising interest rates. Pay attention to what’s happening around you, but refrain from getting caught up in doom-and-gloom hype, which can lead to high levels of anxiety and bad decision making. Avoid the tendency to overreact or to become passive. Remain calm and stay focused.

2. Identify stressors and make 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. If you are having trouble paying bills or staying on top of debt, reach out for help by calling your bank, utilities or credit card company.

3. Recognize your reactions
In tough economic times, some people are more likely to relieve stress by turning to unhealthy activities like smoking, drinking or emotional eating. The strain can also lead to more conflict and arguments between partners. Be alert to these behaviours. If they are causing you trouble, consider seeking help from a psychologist or other professional before the problem gets worse.

4. Turn challenges into opportunities
While difficult, tough times can offer opportunities to take stock of your current situation and make necessary changes. Try taking a walk: it’s an inexpensive way to get good exercise. Having dinner at home with your family may not only save you money, but could help to bring you closer together. Consider learning a new skill. Take a course through your employer or look into low-cost resources in your community that can lead to a better job. The key is to use this time to think outside the box and try new ways of managing your life.

5. Get help
Facing money troubles can be difficult, even embarrassing, but ignoring them and hoping they’ll go away usually means they get worse. Financial planners are available to help you take control of your money situation. 

Financial stress and pressure does not have to take over your life.  With a little help and by planning ahead you can keep yourself stress free and out of debt.  

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