Continuing our discussion on the occupational, or career dimension, one of the nine life dimensions, we will turn our attention to the financial and debt side, and how to achieve health and well being from the freedom from debt relief. Wikipedia states debt relief, or debt cancellation, is the partial or total forgiveness of debt, or the slowing or stopping debt growth.  If you want more information on debt relief, you can read it here on Wikipedia.  We will discuss the

health-affected-by-debt
health affected by debt

signs of stress, and the harmful influence it has on the other eight dimensions, and, on your overall health and well being. Out of control finances and debt seems to be the status quo with most Americans today. Most people have it, so how bad can it be for you? It’s true, we are a nation in debt, in the “red”. Student loan debt has doubled since 2007, credit card debt is out of control, almost an epidemic, and more than a third of Americans haven’t paid their debt in so long, their debt has been turned over to collection agencies.

How Debt And Out of Control Finances Are Destroying Your Health And Well Being

If you are feeling stressed about your financial situation, you’re not alone. If you are feeling the harmful signs of stress, you’re in the majority. 72% of Americans surveyed in a recent American Psychological Association study, said they experienced financial stress, including worrying about paying bills, emergencies, taking care of aging parents, children’s college tuition, and their own financial future in retirement. Here is what’s happening to many Americans, concerning their health and well being:

Isolation

lonely isolation

In a shocking study, Student Loan Hero uncovered the horrible facts surrounding student loan debt and how it affects our overall health. Lead researcher Shannon Inster and her team found that 74% of their participants developed depression, which lead them to shut people out of their lives. Study subjects reported that they experienced apprehension and dread, among other things, which drove them to isolate themselves from family and friends. For more on the harmful effects of isolation, read this article HOW TO SOCIAL NETWORK.

Difficulty Fighting Illness

Chronic stress, from experiencing long-term debt, throws your body out of whack. Stress ramps up the production of Cortisol and Adrenaline to unhealthy levels in the body, and robs the defenses and faculties used to maintain your immune system. And, long term worries over debt and money, makes it even harder to fight off infections and sickness. The more you are burdened by your money problems, the more likely you will get ill.

Mental Health Problems

The rise of stress hormones brought on by dealing with debt, can create a severe imbalance of chemicals in the brain. In fact, individuals with debt problems are three times more likely to have mental health issues. This can lead to depression, as well as chronic anxiety, and psychotic disorders.

Physical Pain

Your mind (brain) isn’t the only thing hurt by mountains of debt, and out of control finances. Dealing with debt, you are more likely prone to dealing with some sort of physical pain, like headaches, back pain, or tense, sore neck muscles, and are more likely to buy over-the-counter pain killers to mask the pain. And truthfully, that’s all it’s doing is masking the pain.

Raised Blood Pressure

The National Institute of Health reveals all the ways a financial crisis or out-of-control debt, can impact the body and mind. The study, which investigated 8,400 young adults, showed there was a definite correlation between debt and elevated blood pressure. Student Loan Hero adds, that a rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath, are also prevalent ailments in individuals bogged down by financial woes.

Sleepless Nights

Yes, stress ruins your sleep pattern, and if you are swimming in financial upheaval, you’re probably experienced multiple sleepless nights in a row. This can become an even more

sleepless-nights-a-big-health-problem
sleepless nights a big health problem

severe problem, as time goes on, and insomnia becomes another avenue for major health issue.

Awareness of the national trend of financial stress has prompted many businesses and organizations to offer financial wellness training to their members and employees. The Ohio State University was the first university to include financial wellness initiatives for students, faculty, and staff, and many other universities have followed in those footsteps.

Money And Health And Wellness

Financial stress can affect your physical, and emotional health and well being. According to the APA, high levels of financial stress are associated with increased risk of ulcers, migraines, heart attacks, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance, and other ailments, and may also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as binge drinking, smoking, prescription drug overuse, and overeating.

As you already know, chronic stress can be detrimental to your cardiovascular system too, adding the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Financial stress can also affect your psychological and emotional well being, distracting you at work and, making you anti-social, complicating your personal relationships. Your mind and body can’t afford financial stress if you are to maintain overall health and well being.

The good news is that you can experience the freedom from debt relief, by taking control of the situation. When you analyze, plan well, and manage your spending, you can take small steps that lead to significant changes, both in your finances, and in your health and well being.

Tips For Managing Your Finances

Set aside some time to evaluate your finances: Make a series of financial dates with yourself (and with your spouse or partner) to plan how you’ll handle your finances. Once you have a plan in place, schedule monthly rechecks to stay on tract. Make a commitment to place a small percentage of your monthly salary into a retirement account, having it automatically withdrawn, so you don’t have to think about it, or be tempted to use it for something else that comes up. You’ll be amazed how much it accumulates over time.

good-health-and-well-being
good health and well being

Analyze Money In, Money Out: Manage your cash flow by first identifying how much money is coming in from all sources each month. Then, identify your fixed expenses that don’t change from month to month, such as mortgage and car payments, and your variable expenses, such as money spent on food, clothing, vacations, emergencies, and health. Variable expenses may present opportunities to cut back and save, and fixed expenses can sometimes be re-negotiated to lower payments. Stopping to review your credit card and bank statements every three months, should give you a clear picture if you are on the right track and making progress.

Priortize: Decide where you really want your money to go each month and draw up a budget you can live by. Make the best possible use of what you have to get the most of what you want. Online sources such as quicken.com, or youneedabudget.com, and moneydance.com, can help. Read the New York Times “Your Money”, columnist Ron Lieber’s 31 Steps To Financial Tuneup” for a complete checklist of money-saving actions, such as reviewing your loans. Lieber estimates how long each action will take, from five minutes to two hours, so you can find time to fit it. in your busy schedule.

Know the importance of interest: The math is simple. Money you invest earns you more money, money you borrow costs you money, so make debt reduction a priority. Even small change, such as money spent on a cup of coffee a few times a week, adds up. As financial Analyst Trent Hamm explains, three $4.00 cups of coffee lattes a week over forty years cost a total of $24,960.00, but invest that $12.00 a week in a fund earning 5% interest, in forty years, it, will accumulate $79, 772.00. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.

Protect yourself from big loss: Reduce worry about financial emergencies by saving a “cushion” fund for at least six months salary. I know it’s easy to say, and very hard to do. But, a little tweaking, and re-arranging priorities, it can be done.

Using savings option: Lieber suggests checking with your wireless carrier for better rates, or deals, or promotions, setting up automatic payments on credit cards, to avoid late fees, and using gift cards as soon as you see them, to avoid losing them or forgetting about them.

Ask For Help: A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) can help you to evaluate your current financial situation, and show you ways to pay off debt and invest in your future. Fee-based CFP”s charge a one time fee rather than taking a percentage of your investments’ earnings, and you’re likely to find the fee small compared to the benefits you’ll reap from good financial planning. Find a good CFA at napfa.org.

Find healthy outlets for your stress that doesn’t cost money: Getting thirty minutes of exercise five days a week, which is recommended, including walks outside, and taking care of yourself, can reduce your overall stress, which will help you think more clearly so you can get a better handle on your finances.

Stay in the present moment: Worrying about the future and feeling guilty about what you’ve done or not done in the past, are two of the most wasted emotions. Besides, most of everything we tend to worry about, never comes to fruition anyway. By staying in the present moment, you can focus on the little steps you can take today to get your finances under control.

Focus on positive things you have in your life: Counting just a couple things you are thankful for everyday gives you a sense of optimism, and can help you reduce stress. Have the mindset that things could be far worse, because they really could. So, just be grateful things are not in worse shape.

Eat healthy food: Eating, fresh as humanly possible, nutritious, organic, well balanced foods to feed your body and your mind, so you can be physically and emotionally ready to deal with the stress of financial issues. If your body and mind are nutritionally-starved, you will not be able to function effectively in any aspect of your life, and particularly, dealing with financial stress. You should be buying lean grass-fed beef, and free-range poultry, or pork, or lamb, fresh wild-caught, or cold-water fish, and fresh fruits and veggies. For more information on buying healthy nutrition, read this article WHAT IS IN MACA ROOT.

fresh-maca-root
fresh maca root with leafy tops

Supplement your diet with a natural supplement: Stay away from high fatty and high starchy foods, fast foods, and pre-processed or pre-cooked foods, not only because they are unhealthy, but, because the savings you will realize from not eating out all the time, and by cooking fresh nutritional meals at home,.you will have enough money to add to your emergency fund, and also be able to supplement your diet with the natural whole food Adaptogen Maca. Maca will nourish your body and mind in so many ways, assuring better health and well being, and your ability to cope with not only financial stress, but, all the other stressors of life.

Peruvian Maca, being an Adaptogen, aids your body and mind to “adapt” to unhealthy situations, naturally reduces stress, reduces anxiety and depression, enhances energy level, reduces inflammation and toxicity, and enhances mood and memory.  For more in depth information on this remarkable plant, read these two reviews HOW TO RELIEVE STRESS: HORMONAL IMBALANCE and WHAT’S HEALTHY LIVING.

Recap

  • Financial stress and debt can affect your physically, social, and emotional health.
  • High financial stress is associated with increased risk of ulcers, migraines, hypertension, heart attacks, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and being anti-social, and can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
  • By analyzing, planning, and managing your spending, you can take control by taking small steps that lead to significant positive and healthy changes.
you-can-do-it-being-positive
you can do it being positive

Take Charge And Act

Even if you can’t pay off that student loan, or other commitments overnight, you can still make positive changes, and eliminating the debilitating signs of stress,  by taking control of the situation, moving you toward enjoying the freedom from debt relief. Feeling in charge of your finances will boost your confidence, help you focus, give you peace of mind, and alleviate a bunch of stress and anxiety, bringing you better health and well being.

What are your questions? I am here to answer them, so, go ahead and ask them below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.