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Mental Wellbeing

How to cope with financial stress

How to cope with financial stress
Writer and expert1 year ago
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Financial difficulties can crop up at any point in your life, for a whole number of reasons. You might have just invested in a new place to live, or have some unexpected extra bills to pay. You could be a student trying to pay tuition and living costs with your income from a part-time job. Whatever your situation, it’s important to know that many of us experience financial difficulty – and it’s not something to feel ashamed of. But for most people who go through money problems, they are often the cause of a lot of worry and stress.

If you’re dealing with financial difficulties, a solution doesn’t always seem obvious or easy. But there are a number of things you can do to make dealing with the accompanying stress a bit easier, and put you in better stead for confronting your financial situation head-on.

Financial stress and mental well-being

Financial stress can take a serious toll on our mental well-being. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, money is a top source of stress for Americans, with 72% of adults feeling stressed about money at least some of the time.1 When we worry about money, we may have difficulty sleeping, lose our appetite, argue more frequently, and even experience physical symptoms such as muscle pain.2

When we're stressed about money, we may struggle to focus on other aspects of our lives, which can lead to a sense of overwhelm and feeling out of control.

Financial stress and relationships

Worrying about our financial situation not only has detrimental effects on our health, but can also impact the people we are close to. Financial stresses often impact our romantic partnerships, in particular. According to a study in 2021, over one year, 7 in 10 couples had a disagreement over their finances. Similarly, 73% of the couples reported financial problems as a source of tension in their relationship.3

When partners are worried about money, it can lead to arguments, resentment, and further stress for both parties. These arguments between married couples about finances tend to repeat themselves: one study found that arguments about money problems are more likely to recur, while remaining unresolved.4  If you feel as though you keep having the same argument, but don’t feel heard, you might withdraw emotionally or avoid discussing money with your partner altogether. Or if you want to avoid a difficult argument, you might also be tempted not to talk about what you’re going through. Although financial stress can come with a sense of shame, communicating with your partner about it – and the feelings you’re having – can be one of the best things to do to help you both through it. Similarly, talking to a therapist or a trusted friend may help you to ease your worry, and find solutions to your financial problems. Nobody should have to face these worries alone – and opening up to people may reveal that others have also experienced, or are currently experiencing, financial difficulties themselves.

What your gut looks like under stress

Financial stress can have serious implications for your gut health, as well as your mental well-being. Living inside your gut is an array of living organisms, including probiotics, which can help with digestion – among other health benefits. A healthy gut microbiome is made up of a diverse range of bacteria, which can help to break down food, produce vitamins, and protect against harmful pathogens.5But this environment looks very different when you’re under stress. Our gut and brain are closely connected, through a complex network of nerves, chemicals, and hormones 6 – which means that our emotions can have an effect on our gut.7 Being stressed for long periods can negatively impact your normal digestive function; and it can also make pre-existing digestive issues worse, such as irritable bowel syndrome and stomach ulcers.8 Therefore, being stressed about your financial situation may have an impact on your gut health.

Tips for supporting gut health while stressed

If you’re dealing with stress about your finances, protecting your health is an essential step in turning things around. Here are some ways to support good bacteria in the gut during times of stress:

1. Invest in yourself

Sometimes it can be hard to justify certain kinds of self-care when you’re stressed about money. But paying for a gym membership, a yoga class, or healthy foods may be more beneficial in the long run. Similarly, taking time for yourself is vital. Although the saying “time is money” is somewhat true, especially if you’re working long hours or multiple jobs, taking the time to get some extra sleep, do some exercise, or prepare a healthy meal can do wonders for your health. A healthy you is better able to make decisions – including financial ones – and you’re also likely to be more productive at work or in your study, putting you in better stead for saving money and time in the future.

2. Take a probiotic

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that naturally reside in the gut microbiome. We can also get them from our diet, or from a probiotic supplement. Taking a probiotic supplement is a great way to support your gut and overall health when you’re feeling the negative effects of stress. Zenflore® is a specially-formulated probiotic supplement that helps to support the body and mind. If you want to support your health when you’re dealing with financial stress, taking a probiotic is an simple way to do so.

3. Get enough sleep

Sleep is crucial for overall health, including gut health. Studies have linked gut microbiome diversity with sleep quality.9 People who are stressed tend to sleep less well, and this lack of sleep is known to contribute to further stress.10

Our tips for saving money and reducing financial stress

Managing finances is tough, especially on a tight budget. You may be trying to make ends meet, paying off a credit card debt, or saving for the future. Managing personal finances often comes with a lot of stress, but by trying some proven strategies, saving money can become a little bit easier.

1. Prioritise your spending

One of the most effective things you can do to manage your finances is to prioritise your spending. Start by creating a budget that outlines your income and expenses. This will help you to see where your money is going and where you can cut back. If you are spending money on things like eating out or buying expensive clothes, try to do less of these to enable you to focus on the essentials.

2. Use credit cards wisely

Credit cards can be a great way to build credit and earn rewards, but they can also be a source of financial stress if not used carefully. To avoid getting into credit card debt, make sure to pay off your balance in full each month. It's also a good idea to choose a credit card with low-interest rates and to avoid opening too many credit card accounts.

3. Choose the right bank account

Choosing the right bank account can also help you to manage your finances more effectively. Look for a bank account that offers low fees, high interest rates, and other benefits such as cashback rewards. Some banks even offer special accounts for people with specific financial personalities or financial difficulties. These accounts are designed to help you manage your money and reduce financial stress.

4. Get professional financial advice

If you are struggling with money problems or financial difficulties, it's a good idea to seek professional financial advice. Financial advisors can help you to create a financial plan that works for you, set financial goals, and manage your money better. They can also help you to prioritise your spending and make smart investments.

Financial stress can impact our mental health and relationships, but it's important to remember that we're not alone in this struggle. Taking care of our gut health is just one way to support overall well-being during times of stress. By investing in yourself and seeking support when needed, financial difficulties can be made just that bit easier to face.

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