Underprivileged people worry about money, as do successful people, and most people who lie somewhere in between those two extremes. Truth be told, the concept of struggling with a “money disorder” is pretty common.
It doesn’t matter if you worship money, you’re a shopaholic, you struggle with excessive risk aversion, or you regularly lie about your finances, there’s no end to the number of ways that money can create a hotbed of struggle and stress in personal life.
However, did you know that those monetary stresses and strains don’t just impact your mind, emotions, and bank account? Your finances can also have a direct effect on your physical health.
When Money and Physical Health Overlap
Dealing with financial challenges and concerns are tough enough as it is. Making sure you have enough money to pay the bills, keep groceries on the table, and cover all of your other expenses is anything but easy.
The problems don’t stop there, though. If left unchecked, the stresses that money creates can quickly spill over into your physical life. This can happen in multiple ways:
Money Creates Stress
Here’s a fact that will likely come as absolutely no surprise. Constant fretting and worrying over financial concerns naturally increase your stress and anxiety. Can you believe it?
This isn’t just an obvious fact, though. It’s also scientifically connected to your physical health. Studies have shown that a high debt-to-asset ratio (i.e. you have a lot more debt than you can easily handle) is associated with greater perceived depression and stress, higher diastolic blood pressure, and worse self-reported overall health.
Money Impacts Food Quality
It’s no secret that eating a healthy diet is a crucial factor for long-term physical health.
Interestingly (and sadly) a Gallup poll found a significant 12% difference between those who said they ate well and those who said they didn’t. The differentiating factor? Those who ate better were more likely to have enough money to do everything they wanted to do.
Money Can Affect Time
Money sucks up time in an egregious manner. While people love to preach the gospel of living in the present and finding meaning apart from materialism, the bulk of our time is often spent slaving away to earn money to avoid eviction, keep food in our bellies, and remain clothed.
Overcoming the Physical Challenge of Your Finances
Alright, so it’s not that hard to connect the dots between money and physical health. But what can we do about it? How can you, as an individual, fight back against this nefarious effect that money can have on your body? There are a few ways.
Hone Your Financial Education
You don’t have to be rich to have a good relationship with money. On the contrary, there are plenty of ways for anyone and everyone to develop a healthy level of control over their money. This starts with getting a well-rounded financial education. This doesn’t mean you need to go get a degree or apply for a job at a bank. It simply focuses on basic factors like:
- Learning to create and maintain a budget.
- Understanding credit and honing your ability to increase your credit score.
- Having a healthy respect for debt and avoiding accumulating too much of it.
- Appreciating the power of both short- and long-term savings.
By learning basic credit, debt, savings, and budgeting basics, you can create a greater sense of understanding and control over your finances.
Find Coping Mechanisms
No matter how well you’re doing, handling finances will always present a certain level of stress — and that’s perfectly fine. Nevertheless, if you find that, even with a healthy understanding of your finances, it’s still regularly making you anxious, you can look for coping mechanisms to help you combat these negative effects, such as:
- Mentally allowing yourself opportunities to take a break, unplug from your financial concerns, and rest and recuperate.
- Going for a walk to benefit from the mental health and stress-reducing aspects of the outdoors.
- Finding little activities that decrease anxiety, such as finding a hobby or even indulging in a predictable, relaxing skincare routine.
Coping mechanisms can provide a lifeline to help your body rest, relax, and recover from the natural stresses and strains of your finances.
Be Okay with Imperfection
Here’s a universal truth for you: you’re imperfect, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay, it’s part of what makes life so exciting. This applies to your finances as much as anything else.
Learning to properly manage your finances takes time, and even once you’ve become a master, you’ll still make mistakes. So, embrace your inner Wabi-sabi and enjoy the process without stressing out about the end goal.
The Link Between Finances and Your Body
Finances directly impact many areas of our lives. The fact that your finances can directly impact your physical health, in particular, should be a wake-up call that is taken very seriously. If left unchecked, your finances can ultimately wreak havoc on your body, regardless of your level of wealth.
So take some time and do a reality check. Are your finances impacting your health? What can you do to manage the effects? If you can take steps to learn about your finances, develop coping mechanisms, and be okay with reasonable imperfection, you can flip your financial activities from a net negative to a net positive that genuinely adds that spark of joy to your daily life.
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