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Surprising Ways Your Finances Affect Your Health + Tips to Decrease Money Stress

April 30, 2020

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Above all else, money is the number one source of stress for Americans — and these financial concerns could be impacting health.

From mental wellness degradation to immune system deficiencies, this extra stress can dramatically decrease a person’s overall health. Luckily, there are more ways than ever to combat the physical ramifications of financial stress — and most are easy to integrate into anyone’s routine.

Below, you can find ways to determine if money is, in fact, harming someone’s well being — from both a mental and physical standpoint. There are also printable mantras designed specifically to get someone out of a rut and back on a path of wellness and financial freedom.

Financial Stress and Physical Health

Financial stress has the ability to hinder one’s physical health. From chemical imbalances to simply bad sleep, being in the red can cause the body some harm. Here’s why:

Increased adrenaline and cortisol: These chemicals curb immune system functions and can cause digestive issues.

Decreased Exercise: A study by LendingClub reported that 60% of Americans with poor financial standings do not get regular exercise.

Overeating: Money stress, like other types, has been linked to overeating, causing an onslaught of health issues like obesity and high cholesterol.

Putting Doctors On Hold: According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 4 Americans have trouble paying their medical bills, making some delay or skip needed doctor visits.

High Blood Pressure and Chronic Illness: Spikes in blood pressure occur when stress is triggered in the brain. LendingClub also reported that over half of Americans skip medications to cut costs.

Luckily, there are many tips to mitigate the health effects of financial stress:

Try Relaxation Techniques: Guided breathing and “isolated body scanning” can dramatically decrease daily stress, soothe muscles and help you focus.

Engage in Physical Activity: Break a sweat three times per week and get active daily to prevent the onset of stress-spurred conditions.

Join a Team: Physical or social clubs are good ways to stay accountable and active.

Get a Coach: Sometimes you have to go to a professional and it’s important to do so if needed.

Accountability is one of the most effective ways to bounce back from both physical and financial hardships. You can edit or print trackers for your physical activity here.

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Financial Stress and Mental Health

As with physical health, mental health can take a serious beating from financial stress. Here’s how, as well as some potential solutions.

Workday Worry: According to an article by financial firm John Hancock, 72% of American workers admit to worrying about finances while at work, decreasing productivity. This takes away important brainpower that can be used for making more money, rather than worrying about losing more.

Decreased Day-to-Day Health: Employees who reported having financial stress also report having more headaches and fatigue during the workday. These are common side-effects of chronic stress and can turn into chronic conditions.

Depression and Anxiety: Financial health is directly related to serious mental health detriments like depression and anxiety. These conditions can have a direct impact on one’s physical health.

Suppressed Goals: According to CNBC, 57% of college graduates regret the amount in loans they’ve taken out. Stress early in a career can worsen symptoms and conditions later in life.

Time Consuming: According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of US employees spend 12–18 hours per month worrying about finances instead of working on the task at hand. This can have a negative cyclical effect on personal finances.

Find a personal finance tracker to print off or edit online here.

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While money can weigh heavily on our minds, there are ways to combat the negative side effects. Clearing the mind can equate to smarter decision making and getting your finances back on track.

Create a Budgeting Sheet: Much like making a to-do list mitigates day-to-day stress, a budget will consolidate your finances and help you keep track of everything.

Go to Bed Early: When your brain is recharged you make better decisions and worry less. This will help get your finances back on track.

Engage Your Left Brain: This side of the brain is for creativity, which frees up your right (or analytical) side, allowing you to focus on finances more clearly.

Use Guided Meditation: Guided meditation is a good way to disengage overworked parts of your brain — so you can look at finances with a new perspective and allow for passive revelations.

Whenever a little mental break is needed, here are mental health and money mantras you can scrapbook, hang on a mirror or bring to work. Use them when you need to take a step back and understand everything will be okay.

Download the mantras here.

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To have some fun along this journey, challenge yourself to bingo. Feel free to print this bingo card below and try to fill it up during the week.

Download the board here!

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To kick off your journey into the green, companies have created databases to help with the first step to living without financial stress: organization. Browse through crowd-sourced coupons for services with companies like Intuit to get a head start.

Sources: Forbes | National Institute of Mental Health | Harvard Health | Mayo Clinic | Market Watch | LendingClub | American Psychological Association | International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans | John Hancock | CNBC | Stress.org | Psychology Today | Thrive Global

We hope that you found this blog helpful. Our content is not intended to provide mental health, physical fitness, or financial advice. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional. Capital One Shopping does not endorse or guarantee any information or recommendation listed above.