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How to cope with financial stress affecting your mental health

by UNN Feed

Money is a hot topic these days; you hear about how expensive everything is, from housing to grocery items. Inflation hit a 40-year high last year. It’s coming down, but it and the pandemic have upended our financial world.

The emotional side to personal finance, though, is often not discussed, and many people are suffering in silence.

But in the privacy of therapy sessions, my patients tell me, a certified financial therapist and psychologist, that their financial situations are affecting their quality of life:

“Thinking about this money stuff makes me feel queasy.”

“You want me to rate my stress on a scale of 1 to 10, but it’s an 11!”

“I feel trapped and hopeless. I honestly don’t know where to start.”

Like my patients, you may be struggling to find stable financial footing and manage your anxiety. But there are strategies you can take to improve how you feel about, think about and behave with money.

Ask the experts: Your mental health and spending habits are linked. Join their live chat on Feb. 2.

Money is a common source of stress

For many U.S. adults, their financial situation is a source of major stress because of rising expenses and debt.

Financial stress can harm your health and relationships. It can affect your sleep and sex drive and cause stomach upsets, headaches and body aches. It can also reduce the effectiveness of your immune system, making you more prone to illness.

Your mental and emotional well-being can be affected as well. My patients often report low self-confidence, anxiety, depression, anger and feeling overwhelmed because of unmanageable debt, living paycheck to paycheck, financial disagreements with their partners, or other financial stressors.

This stress can lead to behaviors that might make you feel better in the short term but are harmful in the long term.

Some people might shop, or spend money in other ways, to feel better. Shopping can release feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and adrenaline in our brains and bodies. In…

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