9 Ways to Deal with Financial Stress
By Sicorra, Tackling Our Debt - September 2012
Do you feel good about the current state of your personal finances or do you feel stressed out about your financial situation?
According to a recent study done by KRC Research:
"Most Americans are not comfortable with the current state of their personal finances, including saving for education and retirement.
Overall, about half (52%) of American adults say they are at least somewhat worried about their personal financial situation and almost one in three (27%) would rate their concern as being very worried."
At this point in my life I fit into the group of the 27% of people that are very worried about their finances. The last 3 years have been very difficult in regard to my financial life and I have noticed that it has caused a ripple effect in the rest of my life. By that I mean that my self-worth and self-esteem have diminished to the point where some days I feel lost and useless. But I am always looking for ways to deal with this stress and to make my life better as I dig my way out of this mess, and I wanted to share some things that have helped me get through the last few years. If you too are worried about your finances here are some ways to deal with financial stress.
Keep your finger on the pulse of your cash flow.
Make sure you know exactly how much money is coming in every month, and exactly how much money is going out. As tempting as it might be to put your head in the sand, you simply cannot afford to. If you stay informed, you will make better decisions.
Exercise your discipline muscle.
Make conscious choices so that your dollars stretch as far as possible. This doesn't mean you have to skimp; it just means you have to make wise decisions. Take a close look at your expenses and make sure the money you spend is giving you a lasting return.
This is no time to let your nutrition or exercise fall by the wayside! If you do, you diminish your capacity to turn your finances around. So make sure you get enough sleep every night, take your vitamins, and keep your body moving.
These simple self-care rituals keep your personal foundation strong. If you do need to cut back on some personal care luxuries, replace them with an inexpensive alternative. For example instead of a personal trainer, you could workout with a friend.
Take bold, inspired action.
If you've always wanted to approach a specific client or strike out in a new industry, now is the time. No matter what the results are, bold action has a way of increasing our confidence, reminding us to risk and stretch beyond our comfort zones. Being proactive is empowering!
Keep yourself emotionally grounded.
If you find yourself thinking about how bad things are - or, worse yet, how bad they might get - get a hold of yourself.
As they say, "Don't go there!" Remember, what we focus on is what we experience and create more of.
If you feel yourself dropping into a whirlwind of emotion, call a friend and borrow some sanity.
Stay connected to your source.
Whether that means your higher power or your own inner wisdom. This is one of the best ways to cope with financial stress.
What rituals or habits help you feel peaceful and connected? It might be prayer or meditation, journaling, or long walks in nature...whatever helps you remember that you are a naturally resourceful and creative person in an abundant world.
Perspective is everything.
When people get stressed, they get tunnel vision. Our thoughts get caught in a loop, and we have trouble seeing any alternatives.
In times like these, the worst place you can be is stuck in your own head.
Try to step back and see the big picture. Your finances may be troubling, but if you have a roof over your head and food in the pantry, you're still doing better than 90% of the rest of the world.
Don't give up the things that you enjoy.
These parts of life are what refill your internal gas tank and keep you moving forward. It's the times when comfort and inspiration are so scarce that we have to comfort and inspire ourselves. You could watch a fun movie, or invite your buddies over to watch a hockey game, have some friends over for a pot-luck dinner party, go to the park for a nice walk, go for a bike ride, read a good book, or bake some cookies. Obviously the point is to keep yourself busy doing things you enjoy instead of constantly worrying about money.
Reach out for support.
People are often reluctant or ashamed to admit how stuck they feel, but a secret burden is so much harder to carry. It doesn't matter whether you call a friend or a financial advisor, a psychologist or a coach, just call someone you can be completely honest with. Sometimes it pays to be vulnerable.