The decline of Wall Street, the mortgage crisis, and the looming threat of layoffs has left one thing on people’s mind, financial stress. In times like these it is hard to not be stressed about finances, but have you considered what this stress can be doing to your health?
Financial stress is linked to health problems such as depression and sleep deprivation. However, the possible health problems go deeper than being sad and having a case of the toss and turns at night. Financial stress can lead to anxiety, digestive problems, hypertension, ulcers, drug and alcohol use, and appetite disorders, to name a few. As a result, a person is forced to go to the doctor, seeking treatment, making for more bills and more stress. It is a vicious cycle.
This may seem extreme, and you may be thinking you could never get stressed to the point of needing medical assistance. It has been estimated that as many as 90% of doctor’s visits are stress-related. An everyday small series of events can lead to a menacing amount of stress, without your realization until it is too late.
People who are currently experiencing financial stress are more likely to practice unhealthy coping behaviors such as drinking and overeating, in turn leading to more stress. When finances are tight people tend to cut corners in areas like health care to pay for basic necessities, leaving small problems unchecked which then turn into larger problems, and increased stress. Before you know it one unpaid bill can lead to numerous unsettled hospital bills.
Researchers say financial stress can cause your whole cardiovascular system to be off track. Elevated stress hormones compress the blood vessels and create a cycle where the blood scrapes the cells, aggravating the atherosderotic plaque, which increases your risk for a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack. Studies found that older workers who lost their jobs have a two-fold increase in the risk for subsequent heart attack and stroke.
In today’s economy, financial stress seems inevitable. But, when financial times are tough it is best to go back to the basics. Try not to panic about something that hasn’t happened yet. If your situation is catastrophic, it’s important not to isolate yourself. Speaking with friends and seeking support through a financial advisor can ease some unnecessary stress. Educate yourself on creating budgets that fit your lifestyle. If you are currently in credit card debt, a plan makes it much easier to get out of debt. If you are not in credit card debt, learn how to save money and cut costs in order to avoid heading down the stressful path of debt.
As you work on improving your financial situation, you can practice stress-reducing techniques and work on creating a low-stress lifestyle. Exercise, yoga, and meditation are all good stress relievers. Although financial times are tough, our physical and financial health should not be sacrificed. Prevention is the best method to eliminating debt and creating wealth. There are ways to cut back unnecessary stress, and remember that we will continue to move forward; what goes up will go down and what goes down will go up.
For more info, contact Catherine Young of The Young Company at (775) 250-4365 specializing in financial well being.