Financial stress: consequences and how to deal with it

According to data from the American Psychological Association, 62% of stress episodes are caused by financial problems. Financial stress is, in this sense, a reality that affects millions of workers around the world.

In chronic cases it can lead to physical and psychological disorders, so knowing its symptoms and knowing how to prevent it is important to achieve well-being. Job loss, unexpected medical expenses, and not knowing how to cope with college tuition are just a few things that can spur you.

It affects adults and young people without distinction and its consequences are also manifested in the work and family circle of people. Today we will tell you what it is about, why you should be concerned and how much you can do to reduce its levels to a minimum.

What is financial stress?

Financial stress is what It is caused by not being able to meet financial demands. It is usually conditioned by what is known as financial stressors, those that are divided into external (the country's economic crisis or a notice of dismissal) and internal (fear of failure, for example).

According to various studies, prolonged recessions are a key factor in increasing financial stress for the population. This condition is also related to work stress and burnout. The latter was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a disease, by being included in the International Classification of Diseases.

What are the consequences of financial stress?

Empirical evidence has shown us that money worries have a negative effect on personal life, especially in terms of health, family relationships and productivity at work.

It is not, then, an innocuous condition, but represents serious consequences in the lives of those who suffer it. Some of the ways that financial stress can affect your day to day are as follows.

Intrinsic and extrinsic factors can combine to create financial stress.

Decrease in labor productivity

According to a study published in 2014 financial stress negatively influences productivity. The performance of workers is diminished due to the physical and psychological consequences that the condition generates. On the physical level, for example, lack of sleep and exhaustion condition performance.

As for psychological incidents, anxiety, worries and lack of concentration also affect productivity. Decreased job performance hurts the company, which can lead to layoffs or calls for attention.

Making poor decisions

Stress triggers a series of neurophysiological factors that affect decision making. This is why lucidity is limited when the body is immersed in these prolonged episodes.

This can lead you to start unprofitable businesses, invest your savings in an uncontrolled way and even acquire a credit responsibility that you will not be able to face in the anticipated terms.

For this reason, the financial crisis can worsen significantly after poor decision-making. This, in turn, affects the circle around the person. Family and friends, directly or indirectly, suffer the consequences of initiatives taken with error.

Health problems

There is an intrinsic relationship between stress and autoimmune, neoplastic, cardiovascular and infectious diseases. Although in some cases it is not yet fully understood how these episodes trigger health problems, their incidence is widely documented.

The case of cardiovascular diseases is interesting, since there are reports on the negative repercussions in terms of the risk of suffering from heart disorders. We also know of studies that demonstrate its role in the development or continuation of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

You may be interested: Work stress associated with the risk of heart attack

Drawbacks with marital relationships

Economic problems and stress generate constant arguments and instabilities in the marriage. Studies, such as that by Joe F. Pittman and Sally A. Lloyd (1988), have shown that the quality of the marital relationship between husbands and children is diminished by financial stress.

Similar investigations, such as that of Fox and Chancey (1998), add to the above a low self-esteem and a general dissatisfaction with marriage.

It is common for those affected to break communication channels with their partner and children, that respond negatively to certain episodes, product of anxiety and tension. All of this creates a cocktail that affects family relationships.

These sequels are the most important you face if you are not looking for a quick fix. To all of them there is also a cost to society due to decreased productivity, reduced quality of life, chronic exhaustion, lack of motivation and absenteeism from work.

How to deal with work stress: 7 tips

As you have been able to corroborate, financial stress is not a game. It is a real problem with consequences that affect you in more ways than one. Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with it.

1. Identify what is causing it

It is the first step to overcome this condition. Take a piece of paper and write down three possible causes of financial stress. List the most important first, so that you give it priority over the others.

Compulsive shopping, credit card debt, pension savings issues, and problems paying for college tuition are some examples.

In some cases you will find that financial stress is preventable; you just have to modify the way you manage your money a little. In others, you will have to have the help of a financial institution, family, friends or professionals.

2. Renegotiate your debt or your base salary

If debts are the trigger, then you can try renegotiating the payment terms. Use the legal framework in your favor, the conditions of the contract and the possible future financial stability to reduce, defer or even suspend the fulfillment of the obligations.

If you think so, you can also renegotiate your base salary. This is conditioned by many factors, although if you believe that your work skills, your contribution to the institution, the time you have been providing the service and the relationship with your superiors play in your favor, then it is very possible that you can achieve it.

3. Be more organized with your finances

Planning your expenses will be your best ally from now on. Make a list and divide your financial efforts into priority and non-priority.

The priority ones are those that you cannot postpone, those that have a mandatory criterion. Rent, food or medicine are a good example. In the non-priority ones you will include the expenses that you can eliminate, because they have a negative impact on your finances.

As the weeks go by, you will be able to more carefully identify those expenses that you can add to your non-priority list. As base, keep in mind that you should never spend more than you can afford. This will help reduce your debt and avoid the symptoms of financial stress.

4. Get physical exercise

Several scientific studies have shown the relationship between physical exercise and a decrease in stress levels. The hormones released during the development of activity trigger a series of psychophysiological responses that act as relievers for anxiety, anguish and tension.

Exercising frequently improves psychological well-being as well as work productivity. It is also a way to prevent other diseases that affect the body. If you do not know how much physical activity to do, you can follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization.

Also read: Health benefits of physical exercise

5. Eliminate unhealthy habits

Tobacco use has been linked to anxiety and stress disorders. The consumption of drugs and alcohol, a poor diet, overeating, not respecting nighttime rest times and drinking a lot of caffeine also affect the development of this condition.

You should focus on those less obvious habits. Excessive use of mobile phones or technology in general (known as techno-stress) also don't help lower your stress levels. In this case, it is recommended that you identify them with the help of a family member or friend.

Technological addictions can be an added factor in suffering from stress. Identifying them is important to regulate them.

6. Consider seeking professional help

As with depression, stress is a condition that sometimes requires professional help. Thanks to it, a personalized therapy can be applied and an accompaniment on the road to recovery is achieved.

If you feel that you cannot cope with financial stress on your own, a professional psychologist or psychiatrist is helpful.

You can also opt for the mediation of a financial professional. Never be afraid to ask for help; on the contrary, it is your best alternative when problems reach pathological states.

7. Look to invest your money

Even when you apply all of the above, money setbacks may still be a problem. In this case, to minimize uncertainty for the future, you can find a way to invest the savings. Of course, you must make this decision with a cool head.

Before doing so, you must implement habits to save your money, so that the surplus of each month will be used to manage your own business. Take advantage of every penny to achieve stability in the medium and long term.

Financial stress can be managed and reversed

The 7 tips above will help you cope with financial stress by tipping the balance in your favor. To complement them, you can also consider the following recommendations:

  • Acknowledge that you have a problem associated with stress.
  • Avoid the temptation to spend money that you don't have or that you can better invest.
  • Don't lose control in times of higher spending (Christmas, birthdays and others).
  • Make only one financial decision at a time. If possible, don't invest all your money in one move.
  • Manage your money always thinking about the future.
  • Find a hobby that helps you relieve tension and anxiety caused by stress.
  • Although not always easy, try to have a positive attitude about your situation.
  • Always have a reserve of money for emergencies.

Family and friends are always available to support you when you go through a bad financial situation. Keep this in mind, so you avoid finding a solution alone.