We often try to compartmentalize different aspects of our life, allowing us break things down more effectively. As a result, when we think about health, we don’t think about money.
In fact, we are likely to focus more on food and exercise when we try to figure out what’s at the root of some of our health issues. Even though we think of finances and health as two different aspects of our lives, the reality is that they are connected, and your finances can have a big impact on your health.
Financial Stress: Physical and Mental/Emotional Health
The biggest way that finances can affect your health is as a result of the stress you feel. Money stress can be a very real part of your life, and enough of that stress over a prolonged period of time can start to have physical effects, as well as impacting your mental and emotional health.
According to WebMD, there are physical indications related to your stress — and this can include financial stress:
- Tiredness, as stress can lead to insomnia. Lack of sleep is related to a number of physical, mental, and emotional health issues.
- Frequent colds and infections due to lower immune system ability. Fatigue can make your body less able to fight off infection.
- Sore muscles, due to tenseness. This can include lower back pain.
- Headaches because you are constantly thinking about money and worried about it.
There are also indications that stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems, as well as digestive problems, including ulcers.
Financial stress doesn’t just stop at potential physical manifestations. Your mental and emotional health can also be heavily impacted by money problems. When you are broke and in debt, you might see an increase in your risk of depression. Anxiety and depression are often hallmarks related to poor financial health since you spend your time worrying about money, and it can be hard to see a way out. Luckily, BetterHelp specializes in helping people manage financial stress and their mental health and can likely help you too.
On top of that, money troubles can add strain to your relationships. When you are anxious about money, plus feel the physical toll the financial situation is placing on you, it’s hard to interact with others in a healthy manner. You might snap at your kids more, or fight about money with your significant other. Relationships with close friends and relatives might also become strained. These relationship difficulties can lead to poor emotional stress as you feel your connections to others deteriorate and as you feel increasingly isolated.
Coping with Financial Stress
If you want to see improvement in your health, you probably need to deal with your financial stress. One of the best ways to get a start on reducing your money-related stress is to make a plan. It can be difficult to face your money problems, but research indicates that taking action can help you feel better. Honestly evaluate your current situation. But don’t stop there. Force yourself to start making a plan to change things. Make a list of things you can cut back on and ways you can make extra money. Just creating a plan and then starting to implement it can help you begin to feel better.
Make sure you turn to your support system. If you have someone to face the financial problems with, you won’t feel as alone, and it can also help you to bounce ideas off of someone else to move forward. You might also need to speak with a professional about your situation. In some cases, you can improve your mental and emotional health by speaking with a professional. This can be a therapist (if you feel you need help tackling anxiety and depression issues), or even a money professional who can help you make a plan when you aren’t sure what to do.
Finally, try to take care of your physical health as much as possible. Engage in physical activity, and try to eat healthy. Do your best to get adequate sleep. Meditation and time for relaxation each day, even if it’s only for half an hour, can help you relieve stress and think clearer. You might be surprised to discover that your stress level goes down — and your health will improve — when you make it a point to take care of yourself.