How to Reduce Financial Stress

Managing Financial Stress Through the Basics of Money Management

Are you wondering how to reduce financial stress? If you are anxious about finances, you are not alone. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, more than 70% of Americans responded that sometimes or often worry about money. If you are concerned about paying the bills, mounting debt, the loss of a job, or saving for retirement, you may wonder how to reduce financial stress.

Symptoms of Stress

Before you can reduce financial stress, you need to recognize the symptoms. Symptoms of stress can take many forms, such as:

  • Trouble sleeping at night. It may take you longer to fall asleep or you may wake up earlier than normal. Or, you may be sleeping too much.
  • Unhealthy eating habits. You may be overeating or not eating enough.
  • Feelings of guilt about how you got into your current situation.
  • Lack of energy or low motivation.
  • Depression.
  • Feeling like you have no control over your situation.
  • Personality changes such as becoming moody or irritable.
  • Friction in marriage or other relationships.
  • Trouble focusing.
  • Starting bad habits or even falling into addictions.

Specific Steps to Reduce Financial Stress

What steps can you take in managing financial stress? First, recognize that not all stress is bad. A little stress can help motivate you to make changes that would help you in your situation. For instance, some stress may motivate you to reduce spending on unnecessary items. However, a little bit of stress can go a long way. Here are some specific ideas to help you reduce financial stress:

  1. Identify the problem(s). Sometimes, rather than just telling ourselves that we have financial problems, it is better to be specific. For instance, is it a debt problem, a spending problem, a loss of a job, or retirement worries? Maybe it is a combination of several problems. List them on a piece of paper.
  2. Control what you can. After you have identified the problem(s), develop a plan for dealing with them by using the basics of money management.
  3. Accept what you can’t control. There are some things you won't be able to change. You will need to learn to accept them.
  4. Recognize that there is more to life than finances. Identify the things in your life for which you can be thankful. Focus on them.
  5. Don't compare you financial situation to that of others. Everyone's finances are different and there is no benefit in comparing them.
  6. Talk to someone. Financial problems can be very personal, but sometimes when you talk about them, your burden can feel a little lighter. Find a friend, family member, or counselor who is a good listener.

Money problems can be overwhelming. It is sometimes difficult for us to know how to reduce financial stress. However, you can reduce the stress if you take control of your life and instead of letting the problems control you.

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