Financial Stress and Health Are More Connected Than You Think
At first glance, financial stress and physical health might seem like two entirely different areas of your life. However, people who've experienced psychological stress and health issues will tell you that the two can greatly affect one another.
Whether it's being overextended with bills, losing a job or taking on debt, each of us will experience financial stress in our lives at some point. The important thing is to understand how mental stress can affect your physical health, and to know what you can do to work through it.
How your finances can impact your health
Gone are the days when doctors would treat physical and mental symptoms in isolation. Studies have established a clear connection between mental and physical health. The good news about this is that in many cases, a positive change to one may improve the other.
On the other hand, a negative change to either your mental or physical health can negatively impact the other. Because the mind-body connection can work either for or against you, it's important to keep all of your stressors under control—including your financial stress.
Money is one of the most common sources of stress in our lives. Financial problems rarely have quick-fix solutions. If you're not taking proactive steps to work on your money issues, they could balloon out of control to a point where they start affecting your health.
Common financial stressors
Financial stressors that may be affecting your own health depends on your personal situation. Common money problems that cause stress include:
- Job loss
- Transitioning from a two-income household to a one-income household
- Having money disagreements with your partner
- Having expenses that are too high relative to your income
- Taking on too much debt
The easiest way to decrease some of your stress and positively impact your health is by working through your most persistent money problems. You might even feel some relief from financial stress and health concerns after just coming up with a plan due to feeling more in control.
Take action to reduce financial stress
Reducing your financial stress starts with identifying your biggest areas for improvement and tackling them one by one. First, you'll want to diagnose your biggest financial stressors.
Clues for where to look include:
- Large debt payments pinching your cash flow
- Having no financial backup, such as an ill-funded emergency fund
- Bills that you've missed payments on more than once
Look at the list you come up with, and determine which money problem is most pressing. Then, focus your efforts on tackling that particular problem. This could mean making extra payments to your credit card bills, or paying off certain debt altogether so that you can decrease your debt minimums due each month.
If it's a lack of savings that has you worried, consider routing more money to your emergency fund before you put extra toward your debts. Or if figuring out how to pay for your children's college education is keeping you up at night, then you can sit down and calculate a savings plan to determine how much you'll need to start saving each month.
Not only can managing finances in and of itself cause stress, but financial problems have a way of compounding into situations that extend over a period of time. Cut off that extended stress by coming up with a plan to tackle your most pressing financial problems. You'll likely start to feel the positive changes to your health, too.
A few financial insights for your life
This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. First Citizens Bank (or its affiliates) neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.