The Best Personal Finance Advice for When You’re Broke & Anxious
How to Break Free From Financial “Flight Mode”, Face Your Finances, and Permanently Reduce Financial Stress
32% of Americans say money is their biggest source of stress. That’s 3x more than work and 6x more than the pandemic. But what are we so worried about? It’s just money, after all. And money doesn’t matter, right?
When it comes to stress and anxiety, money matters a lot.
What I learned going from 6-figures in the black, to 6-figures in the red, to 6-figures in the black again was that money won’t change everything…but it can sure as hell reduce your anxiety.
To reduce financial stress, you have to do precisely what you don’t want to do: you have to stop avoiding it and face it head-on.
How Financial Stress Affects Mental Health
According to Dr. Linda Gallo, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, who studies financial stress:
“Humans are actually equipped to deal with stress and stress can be beneficial, at least initially, because it allows us to avoid danger and face challenges.
But, stress becomes unhealthy when it is unrelenting and people do not experience opportunities to recover.
So, in these cases, stress can lead to physical problems, things like headaches and stomach aches, and also mental health issues, such as anxiety, and trouble sleeping.”
Money is just an abstraction of survival. Think about it: money represents your ability to secure food, shelter, etc. Being broke feels like life or death because it is. It triggers the same fight or flight response.
That’s not a bad thing, as Dr. Gallo points out. It’s prolonged stress that is so harmful. It often doesn’t end at the next payday.
So, to deal with the unrelenting financial stress, we often avoid it.