The financial stress can have a real impact on your health both mentally and physically, causing you to develop unhealthy habits and even become sick.
Swimming in debt can be stressful to say the least, but over time, having to constantly stress about money can take a real toll on your health. People with large amounts of debt are reported to being in poorer health than people without – which health experts say comes as no surprise.
Debt feels like an awful shameful thing, it takes away so much control from our lives, and that’s when we really start to feel the stress.
Stress is unfortunately a normal part of everyday life, but sometimes, it can all consume your entire life. Prolonged stress is highly toxic; it’s a constant physical and emotional wear and tear on your body.
Financial stress as to any other kind of stress that lasts for long periods of time, weeks, months or even years; can affect your body’s immune system and cause you to attract illnesses quicker.
Stress produces a hormone in the body called “Cortisol”, which can cause you to gain weight and weakens your immune system overtime.
We’re in an advanced medical age where doctors will tell you that the body and the mind are one. So if you don’t feel good mentally your body will react to compensate, and not always in a positive way.
Long-term stress is linked to increased blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and more. Stress causes you to engage in bad behaviors more readily. For example, if someone drinks, they’re less likely to quit drinking when they’re under a lot of stress.
People also tend to eat poorly and overeat when stressed. People often seek out comfort food, and comfort food usually isn’t the healthiest, but people fall back on it when they’re stressed.
It’s a vicious cycle because as people engage in these unhealthy habits, it causes them to get more stressed over their poor health. People that are stressed tend to isolate themselves away from the world, abuse substances such as nicotine and alcohol, binge eat and not exercise. This in turn obviously circles back to poor physical health, hence the reason why it’s a vicious cycle.
The way you cope with stress can also affect how you feel. People under a lot of stress often tend to develop negative or passive coping skills. They get stuck thinking about their problems all the time day and night. They look at it with a hopeless point of view, so they only see the negative and don’t look for solutions.
Typically, it’s recommended that people who are experiencing constant or severe stress speak to a doctor or see a psychiatrist, but when the cause of stress is financial, that may not always be possible. So how do you deal with the stress? Start by figuring out how stress affects you because not everybody responds to stress in the same way.
Once you understand how you react to stress, you can recognize your body’s cues in reaction to it and take precautionary steps to mitigate it. Use active coping skills, don’t turn to bad habits such as smoking or drinking, and don’t withdraw yourself from life. Keep track of things by writing things down to clear your mind, plan ahead as far as you can, train and, most importantly, get a good night’s sleep.
A regular sleeping pattern will keep your mind sharp and active helping you think rationally under stress. However, if you’re active coping skills aren’t working and you still feel the pressure, you’re going to have to admit to yourself that there is a problem and go and see a doctor or psychiatrist. Just as a precaution to rule out a more serious problem, such as depression.
If you find your active coping skills are not helping you to deal with the stress, you can take it further by incorporating wellness exercises. You can do yoga or meditate, or something else that helps you relax. Anything that integrates the mind and body can help you clear your mind and look at your problems to try and figure out a solution. Which is ultimately the only way to rid yourself of stress for good.
When it comes to debt-related stress, paying off your loans is the best way to relieve it, and that starts by sitting down and making a budget or seeking the assistance of a Debt Counsellor. Having a plan to get out of debt can make a big difference and it gives you back some semblance of control.
We recommend you sit down and figure out how much money is coming in and going out each month and determine how much you can afford to pay towards your debt. You might have already done that math in your head, but putting it pen to paper gives you the ability to look back on it and remind yourself that you’re making progress.
We recommend reframing how you view your debt. What we call things matters a lot, so don’t call your student loan “debt” – call it a “student loan” because that’s what it was. You didn’t go out and buy a car with the money, hopefully. You got an education, and that’s a fantastic thing to have!
We mistakenly constantly view our self-worth as being tied to our net worth, and we need to change that mind set as it can be unhealthy at times.
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