If you’ve never experienced financial anxiety, you’re lucky. Most people have, though. Today more than ever, financial anxiety is a daily reality of life, whether you are a recently graduated student with a mountain of student loan debt, a young parent struggling to make ends meet, or an older adult worrying if you have made the right retirement decisions.
Financial stress eats away at your joy and peace of mind. Have you ever been having a great day and then received a phone call or a bill in the mail and felt as though your day was ruined? Does this happen regularly? The symptoms of financial anxiety are real! Here are some examples:
1.) You are having difficulty sleeping at night because you are stressed about money.
2.) You are feeling negative about your financial future.
3.) When you spend money, treat yourself or splurge on a special occasion, you feel guilty and even angry with yourself.
4.) You are experiencing feelings of worthlessness or shame because of your financial situation.
5.) You feel so negative about money that you get angry or depressed when the topic comes up.
6.) You feel sure that your situation won’t change, and so you make poor financial decisions.
7.) You are avoiding opening bills or answering the phone.
This kind of anxiety wreaks havoc with your life, both personal and professional. The worst part is that financial anxiety seems to only lead to worse financial habits and decisions, increasing your anxiety and worsening your situation.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to relieve the anxiety, improve your outlook and ultimately improve your financial well-being. Here are some steps to get you started:
This first action is probably the most important. When you are in the midst of financial anxiety, it’s easy to forget what you have to be grateful for. Research shows that people who are grateful for what they have are more satisfied with their lives. One way to turn your attention to the more positive aspects of your life is to create a daily gratitude list. Jot down a handful of things you are grateful for each day. Health, family, a hot cup of coffee, a warm bed…these are all things you can be grateful for.
Another way to increase your gratitude and get out of your own head is to volunteer. Helping others is a great way to get yourself grounded and remind yourself to be grateful for what you have.
Increase Your Self-Esteem And Confidence
Financial anxiety chips away at your self-esteem and self-confidence. One way to remedy this is to take positive action. Do things each day that raise your confidence. Find ways to increase your income. Today, more than ever, there are opportunities to create extra income for yourself. Do some research and find a “side hustle” that allows you to put your talents to use and helps you pay your bills.
Take care of business. When you ignore bills and neglect your affairs it actually lowers your self-esteem and your faith in your own ability to take care of yourself. No matter how stress-inducing and uncomfortable, you have to confront it. Start opening your mail, start making those phone calls. Do other tasks that you have been putting off. When you do them, it increases your self-esteem and raises your confidence levels.
Don’t Worry About Tomorrow, Stay In Today
When you think about your finances, try to stay in today. Thinking about all of it is bound to overwhelm you, so don’t do that. What can you do today, this week? Yes, it’s a good idea to plan the future. Set goals for things you want to accomplish and make a plan for things like debt repayment, but don’t get so caught up in the future that you are having a panic attack, or getting discouraged because you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Focus on the actions you can take today, this week and this month. Pay what you can, save where you can and don’t focus too much on what you can’t do right this second.
Finally, educate yourself. There is a wealth of free information available that can help you learn how to manage the money you have, deal with debt, build credit and create more income. Take advantage of it.
Financial anxiety is real, but you don’t have to let it control you. You can take steps today to combat anxiety and take responsibility for your financial future. You are the master of your own destiny!
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