You finally pay off your rent for this month, let out a sigh of relief, but then, bam! Out of nowhere, you get hit with an unexpected medical bill. Panic starts to creep in and you can feel the anxiety looming over you. It’s not unusual to feel like you’re one unexpected expense away from a total financial meltdown. Studies have shown that financial instability can lead to a whole host of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and even PTSD. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, money is the number one cause of stress for Americans, with 72% of adults reporting feeling stressed about money at least some of the time.
But, it’s not just the stress of not having enough money that’s the issue, it’s also the stigma. According to The Sociological Quarterly, researchers found that people who are experiencing financial distress often feel ashamed and embarrassed, which can lead to social isolation and a lack of support. It’s hard to believe that such a common problem is such a taboo topic.
Let’s break the ice – we need to start talking about money. It’s time to break down the barriers and have open and honest conversations about financial struggles. Just like dealing with any other issue, let’s talk about it. Whether it’s with a trusted friend, a financial advisor, or a therapist, talking about your money worries can help you feel less alone and more supported.
Budgeting is also an effective way to reduce dread and anxiety.Before creating a budget, it’s important to understand your past habits, your regular expenses, and what areas you want to focus on strengthening. Effective budgeting involves setting realistic financial goals and requires a high level of discipline and commitment to avoid financial mishaps. It’s not sexy, it’s not fun but budgeting is necessary and can help relieve stress in the long run.
Another way to improve your financial situation is to prioritize fitness. According to a 2018 study conducted by Freeletics, those who make exercise a regular habit tend to earn about $25,000 more per year than those who don’t. Getting outside or getting to the gym builds discipline, releases endorphins and increases confidence. Implementing a form of exercise into your daily routines could be the key to putting cash back into your wallet.
Finally, the best way to prioritize your financial health is to nurture your mental wellbeing. Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between mental health and financial stability. In fact, mental health issues like depression and anxiety are often the result of financial strain. It’s simple, you can’t take care of your finances if you’re not taking care of your mental health.
The relationship between financial issues and overall health is a complex one, but these topics are deeply intertwined and should be acknowledged. So, let’s start talking about money, exercising and prioritizing our mental health. Remember, be kind to yourself, it’s never too late to make these positive changes.
American Psychological Association. (2019). Stress in America. Paying with Our Health. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2019/stress-health-poll.pdf
Drentea, P., & Lavrakas, P. J. (2000). Overcoming the stigma of financial distress: Why and how? The Sociological Quarterly, 41(4), 689-705
Jivraj, S., Nazroo, J. (2017). Social isolation, loneliness and health in old age: A scoping review. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/hsc.12311
Health & Social Care in the Community, 24(3), 799-812, doi:10.1111/hsc. 12311
Freeletics. New Study Reveals Strong Connection Between Regular Exercise and Happiness, Financial Wellness and Sociability. Cision. Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-study-reveals-strong-connection-between-regular-exercise-and-happiness-financial-wellness-and-sociability-300663984.html
Levis, B., Benedetti, A., Thombs, B. D., & Depression Screening Data (DEPRESSD) Collaboration. (2013). Accuracy of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for screening to detect major depression: individual participant data meta-analysis. BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 346, f1916. https://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1916