No one likes stress. Its impact on our decisions and relationships is bad, but the effect on our health can be permanent. We have all felt the effect of money stress, but often it’s only after the fact, or after the nearness of the stress has passed that we recognize the totality of its impact on our finances and our health. Stress related to financial issues can be especially toxic. Taboos surrounding discussing both finances and mental health can make the subject particularly covert. Some signs that financial stress may be having a negative effect on your wellness:
As budgets get stretched, people who are already under financial pressure begin to cut corners. One of the first and possibly most harmful is sacrificing healthcare services. According to Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare poll, 29% of American adults held off seeking medical care in 2018 because of cost. That’s right, 3 in 10 people went without medical care for fear of the cost. This is not only heart breaking, it is quite possibly fraught with more costly long term consequences. Delaying medical care can actually lead to worse health outcomes and higher costs, both of which can lead to more stress. This reactionary posture to both money and health can snowball quickly.
Poor mental health
Mental health and financial wellness are very correlated. Health is cyclical—poor financial wellness often leads to poor mental health. For years, studies have shown that people in debt have higher rates of mental health issues like depression and anxiety than those who are debt-free. They demonstrate higher cortisol levels, poor sleep habits, and generally lower quality of life.
Poor physical health
Ongoing stress about money has been linked to heart conditions, dietary ailments, diabetes, sleep problems, alcohol and drug dependence, and more. Without proper treatment for both the physical and financial damages, these conditions can lead to life-threatening and long term illnesses, which can plunge you even further into debt.
Unhealthy coping behaviors
Financial stress can cause you to engage in a variety of unhealthy behaviors and jeopardize your relationships with people. People suffering from financial stress report higher rates of stress eating, domestic violence, self harm, and alcohol and drug misuse.
If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs it’s in your best interest to seek professional help in order to find more productive coping responses. Although easy to coach to, asking for help is a great first step.
At InSight, we guide our clients through stressful situations and decisions because being validated with a difficult choice can provide clarity rather than our clients feeling a sense of doubt or fear on whether or not they made the right decision.