Stress has mental, physical, and physiological effects. Although every person experiences stress differently and can point to different stressors, it’s safe to say that any person would benefit from reducing stress. With April being Stress Awareness Month, we’re here to share why controlling stress is so important and ways that you can do so.
In this article, we’ll focus on how to mitigate financial stress and offer ways to lessen overall stress levels at the same time.
What is Stress Awareness Month?
Since 1992, April has been considered Stress Awareness Month. The timeline of stress awareness is filled with milestones. For example, in the 1950s, American cardiologists coined different personality types and found that Type A personalities often have stress as a part of their way of life.
Then, in 1974, what later came to be branded as the International Stress and Tension Control Society was founded as an organization dedicated to workplace and personal stress management. Shortly thereafter in 1992, the month of April was named Stress Awareness Month.
In April and every other month, it’s vital to notice, manage, and work to reduce stress levels because stress has a negative impact on many aspects of life.
Why is Controlling Stress So Important?
When you feel stressed, your nervous system is the first to take action by releasing stress hormones (which include adrenaline and cortisol). The physical effects include a faster heart rate, tighter muscles, higher blood pressure, and more. As a result, every time you are stressed, you are changing the dynamics within your body.
These changes can cause headaches, stomach disorders, and even lead to depression. The result of prolonged or chronic stress could even increase one’s chance of heart disease or a stroke.
Along with the physical ailments and detriments, stress can create feelings of anxiety, sadness, a weakened immune system, exhaustion, insomnia, and more.
It’s clear to see that stress doesn’t have any upsides. That’s why we’re going to share some ways that you can work to reduce your levels of stress, regardless of what your stressors are.
How to Lessen Stress – A Financial Focus
Before we get into how to manage stress, on the whole, it’s useful to know that the majority of people in America feel stressed over the same cause, and that is – money.
As of September 2020, 84% of respondents surveyed by the AFCPE reported feeling financially stressed. People felt financially stressed before the pandemic and will continue to feel this way long after the pandemic. But, per the survey, 58% of people felt more financially stressed during the pandemic than they were before it began.
With the level of uncertainty, shuttered businesses, and rising inflation, it’s easy to understand why this may be the case.
That’s why we’re starting and focusing our list on how to reduce financial stress.
Let’s get to it:
1. Create a Budget
A key source of financial stress is spending beyond what one can afford. This disconnect can be simply connected to the use of a budget. If you feel any type of financial stress, then your first step and solution can be to create a budget so you can understand where your money is going. By setting up a budget, you not only learn about your spending habits, but you can also allocate your income accordingly and prioritize your expenses. If you feel anxious about creating a budget because you’re afraid to see the facts in writing, then that’s probably a sign that you will really benefit from having a budget.
2. Have a Debt Repayment Plan
If you’ve been tallying up debt, then you are likely constantly worried about how you’ll pay it back. There may be tried and proven pathways to get out of debt, including debt consolidation, debt settlement, claiming bankruptcy, and more. In this article, we go into the details so you can choose the route that’s best suited to your situation.
3. Expand Income Sources
It could be the case that having some extra income would alleviate the burden of worrying about money. If you shook your head with a resounding yes to that statement, then consider these ways to make 2022 your most profitable year yet.
4. Seek Help
Financial problems don’t have to be handled alone. The simple act of having someone else by your side to help manage your money better could immediately reduce stress levels.
5. Leverage Technology
Did you know there are apps that could automatically save and invest your extra money for you? For example, if you make a purchase at Starbucks for $3.50, an app will round up that purchase by moving $0.50 into a managed investment or savings account. While it may seem small, the savings could add up over time, providing you with a financial buffer that could help lessen financial anxiety. Here’s a roundup of some of the best apps in the market.
How to Reduce Stress Levels – Overall
Financial worries are certainly not the only cause of stress. For any stressors, there are tactics that are designed to help you feel better and overcome life’s challenges.
Some of these include:
- Seeking professional help (therapy)
- Talking to a friend
- Taking breaks
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol
The Bottom Line
In many instances, stress feels inevitable. As much as stress is a physical and subconscious bodily response, you can take a step back to start realizing when you feel stressed mentally and emotionally. By slowing down, you may be better able to pinpoint what is stressing you out in the moment so that you can take steps to overcome those feelings.
When it comes to financial stress, you are certainly not alone. Consider trying one or several of the recommendations above to reduce financial stress. If there’s ever a month to focus on stress reduction, the time is now during Stress Awareness Month.
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