health-affected-by-debt
health affected by debt

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 health and well-being.  Being in debt places severe stresses on your body, your psyche and your relationships.

For instance, a 2012 University of Kansas 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,  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; 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 Urban Institute study.

uncontrolled-debt-is-detrimental-to-your-health-and-well-being
Uncontrolled Debt Is Detrimental To Your Health and Well Being

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 Harris poll 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

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.

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. An NIH study addressed the relationship between loneliness, psychiatric disorders and physical health.  Social isolation can kill you!  According to a 2018 national Cigna 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.

lonely isolation

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 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 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 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 HOW TO SOCIAL NETWORK.

Difficulty Fighting Illness

Chronic stress, from experiencing long-term debt, throws your body out of whack.  The NIH addressed the relationship between the “high price” of debt and it’s impact on physical and mental health.  Quoting the study:

money-worries-making-you-very-ill
Money Worries Making You Very Ill

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 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.

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.

unhealthy-stress-and-anxiety-from-too-much-debt
Unhealthy Stress and Anxiety From Too Much Debt

According to Harvard, 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.

Indebtedness has serious effects on health.  According to another NIH meta analysis study, there is a connection between personal unsecured debt and mental and physical health, showing 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 Mayo Clinic, 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?

unhealthy-intermittent-explosive-disorder
Unhealthy Intermitted Explosive Disorder

These intermittent, explosive outbursts cause you significant distress, negatively impact your relationships, work and school, and they can have legal and financial consequences.

Physical Pain

Your mind (brain) isn’t the only thing hurt by mountains of debt, and out of control finances.  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

unhealthy-exhaustion-from-insomnia
Unhealthy Exhaustion From Insomnia

The NIH 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 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.

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 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 posttraumatic stress disorder, per an NIH study.  This can become an even more severe problem, as time goes on, and insomnia becomes another avenue for major health issues.

According to Anxiety, org, 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.

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

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 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 unhealthy conditions such as 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 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.

unable-to-cope-with-spiraling-debt
Unable To Cope With Spiraling Debt

The good news is that you can experience the Freedom From Debt Relief, by taking control of the situation and find a solution.  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.  Per the Federal Trade Commission, 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, if you can start saving $405 per month by age 25, an average annual return of 7% means you’ll have $1 million by age 65.

debt-free-healthy-happy-positive-mood
Debt Free Healthy Happy Positive Mood

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.  Springer Link has a 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 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.

healthy-freedom-from-debt-relief
Healthy Freedom From Debt Relief

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 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 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, 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 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, 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.

enjoying-life-again-after-paying-off-debt
Enjoying Life Again After Paying Off Debt

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.  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.  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 an NIH study.  Mayo Clinic study also confirms the benefits of physical activity in improving mood and concentration, and reducing anxiety.

healthy-yoga-stretching-for-relieving-stress
Healthy Yoga Stretching For Relieving Stress

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.

Using deep-breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga, 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 meditation worth reading.

Focus on positive things you have in your life:  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 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 study also addressed the importance of being thankful in one’s life because being thankful will result in a happier life.

healthy-nutrient-dense-mediterranean-diet-ingredients
Healthy Nutrient-Dense Mediterranean Diet Ingredients

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,  much less dealing with uncontrolled debt and financial issues spiraling out of control.

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 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 NIH study. According to the NIH, 68.8 percent of Americans are considered overweight or obese. And, 29 percent of Americans have high blood pressure according to the CDC.

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 2 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.

fresh-maca-root
fresh maca root with leafy tops

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?

Recap

  • 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 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.

you-can-do-it-being-positive
you can do it being positive

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.

(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.