One of the leading contributors to poor mental health is financial trouble. In fact, a number of studies indicate that there is a major link between debt and anxiety. Although long-term treatment of chronic anxiety may require professional care, there are things people can do to reduce their anxiety about their finances. Keep on reading for a few helpful suggestions.
Take an honest look at your situation
One of the worst things you can do when you’re in financial trouble is to let the situation percolate and fester in your mind. Instead, sit down with your bank statements and take an honest look at exactly what is happening. Where are the major expenditures or debts that are causing the problem, and what exactly is the income deficit? By being realistic with yourself about your financial situation, you may find that is not as serious as you initially thought.
Seek external help
You may need third party assistance to pay your debts. If your credit rating isn’t too great, you could look into bad credit personal loans, which could provide a short-term cash injection to help you out of an immediate financial hole. Asking friends and family members may help, as could negotiating with lenders or employers for more assistance or time.
Create a budget
Regardless of what your expenses are, it pays (no pun intended) to be acutely aware of what your financial situation is. That’s why it can be helpful to create a budget so that you know exactly how much you’re spending each month and what you are spending that money on. Again, you need to be honest with yourself, because if you omit anything important (perhaps to make the figures look better) then the only person you’ll be damaging is yourself. Take all your income and expenditures into account, no matter how big or small they are!
Try to make cuts
Sometimes you may find yourself in financial trouble because you simply don’t have the income to keep yourself afloat. That’s a serious situation, and you should definitely seek professional help if that’s what’s happening. However, if things are less critical than that, try to make cuts where possible. Use public transport or walk instead of driving. The latter option has the added benefit of boosting your mental health, giving you the double benefit of being less worried about money and getting a bit of exercise into the bargain.
Don’t overspend when you feel depressed
Overspending during mental health downswings can be one of the most destructive things to do for your financial health. Preventing yourself from spending too much during your down periods is a crucial way to improve your financial outlook and your anxiety. When you feel the need to hop onto Amazon and buy something to cheer yourself up, try going for a walk, taking a bath, or doing some other physical activity that you usually enjoy.
Talk it out
Your friends and family love you, and they want to know that you’re doing okay. Talk to them when you’re feeling down about money. Even if they can’t help you materially, just having a shoulder to cry on or someone who knows about your predicament can help to relieve the stress and anxiety you feel. You do not have to face your mental and financial issues alone. Be sure to involve trustworthy people around you.
Cut out habits that are harmful and expensive
It isn’t easy to quit drinking or smoking as alcohol and nicotine are highly addictive substances. The fact that smoking and drinking are generally viewed as acceptable behaviors for adults makes breaking the addiction even more difficult. However, many people have been able to quit smoking and drinking by taking advantage of local mental health resources. A number of support groups are free to join and can help you to manage your cravings and spend less on these substances.
Start saving (if you can)
For many, the prospect of saving is far out of reach. If you’re living hand-to-mouth, you may not be able to open up a savings account, but if you do have even a little cash left over each month, then it’s a good idea to start putting it into a savings account. By doing so, you can prepare for unforeseen events and yourself some breathing room. If your circumstances change, you can have peace of mind knowing that your savings are available to you.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is not to panic. If you panic, you’re significantly reducing your chances of getting out of your situation, and you’re also increasing the chance that you’ll make a decision you’ll regret later. Be calm, try to put everything in perspective, and don’t start doom-Googling the worst thing that could happen to you. Take each day as it comes and deal with smaller situations first.