There are many different things that can cause us stress and if you’re a certain kind of person then you’ll probably be able to find a way to worry about anything.
That said though, some things are certainly more prone to causing us stress than others and being able to identify those things so that you can go about dealing with those causes specifically is an important tool in your arsenal against the dangers of stress.
One of the most common causes of stress or types of stress is financial stress. Let’s take a look at what precisely causes this kind of anxiety and at what you can do to go about combating it.
What Is Financial Stress?
Financial stress, as the name might suggest, is stress that is caused by your finances. In other words, this is stress that comes from being in debt, that comes from being unable to make the rent/mortgage repayment or that comes from knowing you’re going to have to spend a huge amount of money.
The problem with financial stress is that it tends to be an ongoing and chronic type of stress. This then means that you can go for long periods of time experiencing elevated heart rate, increased weight gain, suppressed immune function and numerous other issues. In terms of negative health and mental health effects, chronic stress such as this tends to be the most serious and destructive kind and it will mean that the effects of any other subsequent stress will be exaggerated further.
How to Deal With Financial Stress
With that in mind then, it’s crucial to think about ways you can combat this type of stress and prevent it from affecting your quality of life.
So what can you do to fight financial stress?
One of the obvious options here is to look at the specific cause of your stress (debt, upcoming expenses, general lack of funds) and to deal with them directly. If you’re in debt, then coming up with a budget can often be very helpful as can working with a debt management firm, looking into debt consolidation etc. When it comes to paying for big expenses, you can look for other ways to get some money back (selling something or doing a little extra over time for example) or you can again create a plan – such as putting X amount of money every day for a certain number of days.
But while this can often be very helpful, it often won’t be enough to completely eradicate financial stress. The fact of the matter is that if your problems were easily solved, you likely would already have solved them and they wouldn’t now be causing you stress.
As such, you may need to look into other methods of stress management.
One option is to simply think about contingency plans you could use in the worst case scenarios. For instance, imagining that you were unable to pay for your rent at the end of the month, what might you then do to cope? Viable options could be asking to borrow money from parents, explaining to your landlord and asking for an extension, or maybe asking for an advance from your employer.
Likewise, you can think ahead to the real worst-case scenarios that could come from continued financial difficulty. Sometimes we will irrationally worry that we’re going to end up homeless or having our property repossessed. These realities are actually very unlikely but even in that position, wouldn’t you be able to stay with a friend or family member?
Learning to Live With Less
It’s also important to learn to live with less when you are facing financial stress. Many of us feel as though we need a certain amount of money to survive and thrive when actually this estimate tends to be unnecessarily high.
In terms of doing nice things and enjoying life, you most likely have plenty of fun options that you can enjoy for free – whether that’s visiting a museum or watching a DVD you haven’t gotten around to seeing. Maybe you could use this as an excuse to start some new hobbies or to start a workout routine? Actually, living in a more minimalistic way can be quite enjoyable and can help you combat stress in other ways too, so it’s worth living. Reading the Stoics can also give you something of a philosophical framework for tackling the harder times.
Learn Stress Management
Ultimately, being in financial trouble is a very stressful experience and it’s inevitable to a degree that it would cause you to feel uncomfortable. That said though, stress in itself is not going to do anything to help you deal with the problem.
Make a plan/budget to get you out of stress, cut back on necessities and then focus on executing that plan to the letter. Once you’re doing this, there is no ‘use’ for stress and you can use methods like cognitive behavioral therapy and distracting activities to fight the negative feelings it causes.