Handling Financial Stress

financial_stress.jpgIf thinking about your money situation makes you feel anxious, worried or panicked you are suffering from financial stress. Fortunately, you aren’t the only one. Money is one of the biggest causes of stress, but it doesn’t have to be that way: there are many effective strategies for not only coping with financial stress, but to conquer it. Here are a few ways to get started. 

Money shouldn’t give you happiness but it sure can make you feel a sense of security and stability. Financial worries can burden anyone’s attitude but as a young adult it seems like it is the difference between life and death or maybe just the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. There are plenty of decisions to make in your 20’s and without money it is hard to even get started. There is a sense of independence and humility that develops after college and asking your parents for financial help doesn’t feel like an appropriate option anymore. So how are you supposed to deal with the financial stress that builds up when bills keep coming and a starting salary is the only source of income?

First, look for stress relieving outlets and ditch the defeatist attitude. 

Some quick fixes that might patch up the stress for the time being are breathing and stretching exercises. Your mind and body can get wrapped in worry and taking a minute or five minutes to relax can help. Close your eyes, sit up straight, roll your neck and shoulders and focus on your breathing. Practicing yoga is healthy for the mind, body, and soul and help with relieving the stresses of everyday life. More strenuous exercise is a way to get the toxins out of your body. Taking a long walk or a run relieves stress, invokes new ideas and keeps the body healthy. Get into a routine and find out what relaxes you when the anxiety starts to intensify.

Be firm with your spending. 

Forget the big goals that are too immense to master and start small. Create a budget each day and reward yourself for sticking to plan. Limit yourself by giving up one regular purchase a week. See how it feels and try cutting back with different things like eating out or shopping trips. Nobody said it was going to be easy. Budgeting is hard and it is all about self-discipline and control. Continue setting goals and gradually increase the difficulty until self-control becomes a habit. Don’t forget to reward yourself but only if you think it’s deserved.

If those quick fixes are just that, a minor fix, and the stress doesn’t dissipate, talk to someone about your finances to gain a different perspective. In order to grasp the financial stressor that is troubling you talk to your significant other, a financial advisor, a reliable friend or family member. You need to understand what is going on with your finances and talking about it helps with recognition. Maybe you have already created a budget and have made a solid effort to control spending or maybe ignoring or denying the issue at hand is how you have coped, however it is time to conquer the issue and get some tips from a trusted friend or advisor.

Put things into perspective. 

Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of a reality check to understand your situation. If you are in your first decent paying job right out of college and you are living paycheck to paycheck maybe it’s time to realize that you are still young and things will get better. Plenty of college graduates struggle for years in order to live comfortably down the road and this is a life transition. Your savings might not be building up as fast you want but eating mac and cheese and staying in on a Friday night is not be that bad if it means you are living within your means. If you have a job, you are lucky. If you have a roof over your head and friends to rely on, things are good. Keep working hard and things will turn around.

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