Being in debt is no fun. Not only does it negatively effect your finances, it is also detrimental to your health and well being. Seeking Freedom From Debt Relief is one of the most constructive steps you can take to improve your overall physical and mental health. Being in debt places severe stresses on your body, your psyche and your relationships, caused by anxiety, depression, fear, regret, anger, frustration, denial, shame, and embarrassment, found a 2012 Wiley Online published in the Economic Journal.
For instance, a 2013 University of Kansas “Researcher Finds Correlation Between Financial Arguments, Decreased Relationship Satisfaction” study of 4,500 couples published in “Family Relations” showed that newly married couples who argued about money were more likely to split up within five years than couples who argued about anything else. 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 signs of stress, and the harmful influence it has 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”.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York “Total Student Loan Debt Ticks Up; Delinquency Rate Is Steady” survey, student loan debt reaches 1.49 trillion in the first quarter of 2019, a rise of 29 billion just for the quarter; credit card debt is out of control, almost at epidemic proportions, with Americans having an average of $5,554 of credit card debt carried from month to month, found a 2019 CreditCard.com “Average Credit Card Debt Statistics” survey; and more than a third of Americans, or 71 million, haven’t paid their debt in so long, their debt has been turned over to collection agencies, according to a 2018 Urban Institute “Income and Wealth” study.
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 percent of Americans surveyed in a recent 2018 American Psychological Association (APA) Harris poll “Stress In America Generation Z” survey, 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:
In a shocking 2017 “The Mental Toll of Student Death” survey, Student Loan Hero and Lending Tree 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 percent 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.
Loneliness and depression go hand in hand. Does loneliness or isolation cause depression, or is it the other way around? Try both, depression could cause one to withdraw, but it’s also true, being isolated can further depression. A 2014 Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (NIH) study addressed the relationship between loneliness, psychiatric disorders and physical health. Social isolation can kill you! According to a 2018 national Cigna “Loneliness At Epidemic Levels In America” Survey, loneliness levels have reached an all-time high, with nearly half of 20,000 U.S. adults reporting they sometimes or always feel alone.
Forty percent of survey participants also reported they sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful and that they feel isolated. Such numbers are alarming because of the physical and mental health risks associated with loneliness or isolation can really be debilitating, even threatening life.
This was confirmed in a 2015 Sage Journals “Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality” meta analysis published in the Perspectives of Psychological Sciences, where they found that lack of social connection heightens health risks and even mortality, and loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity.
Can you see the connection? Spiraling debt leads to mental issues and depression, resulting in social isolation and loneliness, causing many different health issues. One meta-analysis 2013 University of South Hampton “Debt Linked to Mental Health Problems” study of nearly 34,000 individuals found that people in debt are three times more likely to have a mental health problem such as depression, than those not in debt.
Another 2012 Wiley Online “Debt and Depression: Casual Links and Social Norms Effects” study on debt and depression published in the Economic Journal, found that individuals exhibiting problems repaying their debt obligations also exhibit much worse psychological health. For more on the harmful effects of isolation, read this article “List of Social Skills”.
Difficulty Fighting Illness
Chronic stress, from experiencing long-term debt, throws your body out of whack. A 2014 Social Science Medicine (NIH) study addressed the relationship between the “high price” of debt and it’s impact on physical and mental health. Quoting the study:
Our findings show that reporting high financial debt relative to available assets is associated with higher perceived stress and depression, worse self-reported general health, and higher diastolic blood pressure, and other serious health issues.
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. Another 2009 European Journal of Pharmacology (NIH) study concluded the central effect of release of stress hormones over the long-term, in negatively effecting health and promoting disease.
And, long term worries over debt and money, makes it even harder to fight off infections and sickness, and in many cases avoiding going to the doctor because you can’t afford to pay for treatment, as research has shown. The more you are burdened by your money problems, the more likely you will get ill, was confirmed in a Mental Health Foundation “Debt and Mental Health” study.
Mental Health Problems
The rise of stress hormones brought on by dealing with debt, can create a severe imbalance of chemicals in the brain, according to a Harvard Medical School study. However, onset of depression, for example, is much more complicated than just a brain chemical imbalance.
According to a 2019 Harvard Health “What Causes Depression?” study, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.
Would you consider out-of-control-debt a stressful life event? You bet! 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, not to mention what it’s doing to your physical body. Indebtedness has serious effects on health determined a 2014 BMC Public Health study reviewed by the NIH.
According to another 2013 Clinical Psychology Review (NIH) meta analysis study, there is a connection between personal unsecured debt and mental and physical health.
There is a significant relationship between debt and mental disorder, depression, suicide completion, suicide completion or attempt, problem drinking, drug dependence, neurotic disorder, and psychotic disorders.
Anger and Frustration
It’s known as the Debt-Anger Syndrome, or “intermittent explosive disorder”. Instead of panicking or denying, debt victims get mad. They are mad at creditors who continually send them bills; mad at the mailman for delivering the bills; mad at their bosses for not paying them more; mad at their spouses for not making more money; mad at their kids for needing new braces; and mad at themselves for getting into this fix. In short, they are mad at life.
According to the 2018 “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” Mayo Clinic study, intermittent explosive disorder involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation. Road rage, domestic abuse, throwing or breaking objects, or other temper tantrums may be signs of intermittent explosive disorder. There are clear signs of this disorder in our society don’t you think? How about the random shootings of innocent people?
Your mind (brain) isn’t the only thing hurt by mountains of debt, and out of control finances. 2016 Sage Journals “Economic Insecurity Increases Physical Pain” research in the journal in Psychological Science, found the link between physical pain and finances may be driven by the lack of financial control over your life.
It can hurt physically to be economically insecure. According to lead study officer Eileen Chou of the University of Virginia,
Results from six studies establish that economic insecurity produces physical pain, reduces pain tolerance, and predicts over-the-counter painkiller consumption.
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 2014 Social Science Medicine (NIH) study reveals all the ways a financial crisis or out-of-control debt, can impact the body and mind, particularly blood pressure. The study showed a clear and definite correlation between debt and elevated blood pressure. Another Elsevier 2013 study published in the Social Science and Health, found a direct correlation of household financial debt and its impact on mental and physical health.
Findings show that reporting high financial debt relative to available assets is associated with higher perceived stress and depression, worse self-reported general health, and higher diastolic blood pressure.
Yes, stress ruins your sleep pattern, and if you are swimming in financial upheaval, you’re probably experienced multiple sleepless nights in a row because of anxiety and worry about debt. Sleep disturbances, particularly insomnia, are highly prevalent in anxiety disorders and complaints such as insomnia or nightmares have even been incorporated in some anxiety disorder definitions, such as generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, per a older 2003 Dialogues In Clinical Neuroscience (NIH) study. In another 2018 Cureus study reviewed by the NIH, found a very strong connection between sleep debt, sleep deprivation and the emotion of anger. This occurrence can become an even more severe problem, as time goes on, and insomnia becomes another avenue for major health issues.
According to a 2015 Anxiety.org “13 Tips on Getting the Sleep You Need for Good Mental Health” study, how much you sleep each night also determines how well you can deal with stress, anxiety, and worry. When a person gets too little sleep, the deprivation acts as a chronic stressor that impairs brain functions and contributes to an overload on the body’s systems. This overload contributes to memory loss, brain fog, confusion, and depression, making it more difficult for a person to deal with stress, worsening the situation.
Furthermore, sleep deprivation creates an imbalance in hormone levels that drive anxiety levels higher. Too little sleep also boosts adrenaline levels that can exacerbate existing anxiety issues.
Awareness of the national trend of financial stress has prompted many businesses and organizations to offer financial wellness training to their members and employees.
Ohio State University in a 2017 “Engagement in Wellness Programs Leads to Greater Health Outcomes” study, 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 a 2015 American Psychological Association (APA) “Stress In America” survey, high levels of financial stress are associated with increased risk of unhealthy conditions.
These unhealthy conditions could be 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, confirmed in a 2019 Mayo Clinic “Stress and High Blood Pressure: What’s the Connection?” study. Financial stress can also affect your psychological and emotional well being, distracting you at work and, making you anti-social and an isolationist, 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 and find a solution. According to a Debt.org research “How to Create and Manage a Budget”, when you analyze, plan well, take the pressure off, and manage your spending through a budget plan, 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.
Per the Federal Trade Commission “Coping With Debt” research, some of the options include self-help using realistic budgeting and other technique; debt relief services, like credit counseling or debt settlement from a reputable organization; debt consolidation; or even bankruptcy. Once you have a plan in place, schedule monthly rechecks to stay on tract. The best way to live well when you’re old is to save when you’re young.
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. According to Interest.com 2019 “How to Save $1 Million for Retirement” study, if you can start saving $405 per month by age 25, an average annual return of 7 percent means you’ll have $1 million by age 65.
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.
A 2008 Springer Link “A Reference Model for Personal Financial Planning” research, has a very good reference model for personal financial planning. 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.
Prioritize Your Income: Decide where you really want your money to go each month and draw up a realistic budget you can live by. Make the best possible use of what you have to get the most of what you want. Online money management sources such as quicken.com, or youneedabudget.com, and moneydance.com, can help. Read the New York Times, columnist Ron Lieber’s 2019 “A Financial Checklist for Your Newly Minted High School Graduate” reference 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. The Balance 2020 “What Is Interest?” article has a great explanation on interest cost when borrowing money and on interest earned when you lend money. Even small change, such as money spent on a cup of coffee a few times a week, adds up.
As financial Analyst Trent Hamm from Simple Dollar 2007 article 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 percent interest, in forty years, it will accumulate $79,772.00. If that doesn’t get your attention, we 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. A 2018 Bankrate “Most Americans Have Inadequate Savings, but They Aren’t Sweating It” survey found that only 29 percent of Americans have enough emergency savings to last more than six months and just 18 percent have sufficient savings to cover three to five months, meaning only 47 percent of Americans, less than half, are truly prepared for an emergency.
According to Northwester Mutual 2018 “How Much Should I Save in an Emergency Fund?” study, consider saving whatever amount you can now, whether it’s $100, $50, or even $25 a month, until you have at least one month of your household expenses stashed away. 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, car payments, or other payments, to avoid late fees, and in some cases, even an interest rate reduction on loans for paying by automatic debit, is a good idea, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 2015 “You Have Protections When It Comes to Automatic Debit Payments From Your Account” research. Use 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, according to a 2019 Investopedia “Fee-Based vs Commission-Based: Which Type of Advisor Is Better?” study. Find a good CFA at National Association of Professional Financial Advisors (napfa.org).
Find healthy outlets for your stress, anxiety that doesn’t cost money: Getting the minimum 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, which is the official recommendation, including walks outside in nature, and taking care of yourself, can reduce your overall stress and depression, helping you think more clearly so you can get a better handle on your finances, according to a 2004 The Primary Care Companion To the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (NIH) study. A Mayo Clinic 2017 “Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Eases Symptoms” study also confirms the benefits of physical activity in improving mood and concentration, and reducing anxiety.
Live 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 and is not very healthy determined a 2019 Mindfulness (NY) study reviewed by the NIH.
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. Using deep-breathing exercises, per a 2017 Frontiers In Psychology (NIH) study; meditation, per a 2015 AYU (NIH) study; or yoga, per a 2017 Journal of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH) study,are good options for re-centering your mind and living in the moment, reducing stress and anxiety, and enhancing your overall health and well being.
Here is an article on Benefits In Meditation” worth reading.
Focus on positive things you have in your life: When you’re Seeking Freedom From Debt Relief counting just a couple things you are thankful for, or grateful for, everyday gives you a sense of optimism, and can help you reduce stress and anxiety, allowing you to think more clearly. A older 2003 American Psychological Association (APA) study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, confirmed the benefits of counting blessings versus burdens. Have the mindset that things could be far worse, because they really could. So, just be grateful things are not in worse shape. A Harvard Medical School “Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier” study also addressed the importance of being thankful in one’s life because being thankful will result in a happier life.
Eat The Mediterranean Diet: Eating, fresh as humanly possible, nutritious, organic, well balanced foods which are mainstays of the Medi Diet, to feed your body and your mind, so you can be physically and emotionally ready to deal with the stress of financial issues.
By the way, the Mediterranean Diet has just been chosen as the #1 Overall Diet for the 3rd year in a row in 2020 by the U.S. News and World Report. If your body and mind are nutritionally-starved, you will not be able to function effectively in any aspect of your life, especially when dealing with uncontrolled debt and financial issues which are spiraling out of control, only compounding the unhealthy emotional and physical stress you are already experiencing.
For meals eat fresh, organic, well-balanced nutrient-dense foods, such as grass-fed finished lean meats, fresh, organic, free-range finished poultry, grass-fed finished dairy and eggs (A); fresh cold-water or wild-caught fish and seafood (A); fresh organic fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and edible flower seeds (A); and organic whole grains and complex carbohydrates, natural fermented foods, fresh organic herbs and spices, and antioxidant drinks, infused water, and fruit and veggie smoothies (A).
Supplement your diet with a natural whole-food supplement: Stay away from high fatty and high starchy foods, fast foods, and pre-processed or pre-cooked foods, or restaurant foods, not only because they are fattening and unhealthy, per this 2017 BMC International Journal of Nutrition and Physical Activity (NIH) study. According to a NIH 2017 “Overweight & Obesity Statistics” study, 68.8 percent of Americans are considered overweight or obese. And, 29 percent of Americans have high blood pressure according to the CDC 2020 “Facts About Hypertension” study.
But, also, 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 Peruvian Maca (A). Statistics show a $13 restaurant meal for 2, which is really conservative, is about 325 percent more expensive than a $4 meal you prepare for one and yourself at home.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spends around $3,000 a year eating out. So, in this case, if you cooked at home, you would save over $2,000! P 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 also, 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, memory, and concentration. For more in depth information on this remarkable plant, read this article “What Is In Maca Root?”
- Financial stress and debt can affect your physically, social, and emotional health in a very unhealthy way.
- 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 back control of your life by taking small steps that lead to significant positive and healthy changes.
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 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 for the rest of your life.
What are your questions? We are here to answer them. So, go ahead and ask them below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
(A) Follow these links for additional information, more documented studies, and to purchase these incredible nutrient-dense foods which will benefit you greatly when dealing with uncontrolled debt.