It’s said that money is the root of all evil. Some popular sayings like: “more money, more problems”, or “blessed are the poor” invite us to think that on occasions, it’s preferable to not have money because it changes people and, in many cases, it’s the root of severe personal and family conflicts.
At the same time, when you have enough money, you feel that life is more bearable, less worrisome; what previously overwhelmed you, now you see from another perspective. Having financial freedom makes you see the world with more light, you live carefree, you breathe air of safety and self-esteem, you can afford to buy a house, a nice car, enjoy holidays and of course pay religiously all monthly receipts and obligations which you have committed to.
Historically, money has always been stressful, but lately, the list of elements that generate tension and anxiety is being led by issues related to money, and with good reason. If we recognize how difficult it is to earn a living, it’s no wonder that we are so sensitive about the issue of money, and there are so many people that suffer day after day, building irreversible consequences for their physical and emotional health.
Pay attention to these facts about how money impacts stress levels
- The lower the income, the greater the propensity to stress. The American Psychological Association (APA) has shown that in recent years, people with lower income are more likely to suffer from stress. This contrasts with a study in 2007, in which a significant correlation between income and stress levels experienced by people who participated in the study was not found.
- Feeling the inability to pay for health care can really make you sick. Money problems cause stress that can lead to health complications for two basic reasons: firstly, you become ill due to stress; but at the same time, you neglect your health because you are too focused on money problems and also because you’re convinced that you do not have enough slack to allocate some of that money to health care, or you feel you must save the little money you have to meet mandatory and extremely necessary expenses. Under these conditions, health rapidly deteriorates, increasing vulnerability to serious events such as strokes or heart attacks. Moreover, the loss of health, the burdens and concerns, significantly influence the responsiveness to overcome the crisis; you cannot think straight, much less evaluate opportunities and choices you have to take to make smart decisions based on your personal circumstances and family. This generates more stress and a tendency to eat in an unhealthy way, to overeat and to have irregular sleep patterns. As you can see you get into a vicious circle that is difficult to escape
- You will never be able to buy with money one of the best antidotes for stress. In most cases, emotional support from family and friends is the only truly effective way to reduce stress and combat its effects. The simple fact of having the support of people who may help you in your worst moments, increases your tolerance to uncertainty and dramatically reduces stress levels. A survey by the APA in 2014, concluded that 43% of people who reported not having emotional support, increased their level of stress in the last year, compared with 26% of those who acknowledged such support.
You may have noticed the importance of preventing stress from taking root in your life, and even more money-related issues. To prevent this, the American Psychological Association makes a set of recommendations which are briefly summarized as follows:
1) Do not panic or fall into negativity; on the contrary, you should remain calm and focus your mind on the solution.
2) Identify factors that really cause financial stress. This is a must to develop specific action plans to overcome each of these factors.
3) Assess the way you are handling money related stress (smoking, alcoholism, depression, abuse, violence, etc.) and establish the necessary corrective measures before the conflict becomes more difficult to resolve.
4) Avoid the routine and find new ways to help turn bad times into real opportunities for personal growth.
5) Ultimately, if none of these recommendations take effect and you’re still overwhelmed by your financial worries, it will be very useful and convenient to seek professional support.