Money is a topic that, for better or worse, gets discussed a lot in our culture. In fact, it’s easy to feel as if money is the key to unlocking health and happiness. But when you study what’s actually happening below the surface, it becomes clear that financial stress is actually one of the key factors in stress, anxiety, depression, and emotional instability.

The Impact of Financial Stress

Everyone feels the stress of money. It doesn’t matter if you’re working in a fast food restaurant making minimum wage or you’re the CEO of a large company, you’re feeling some sort of stress. The stress is different depending on the situational factors, but it’s present in almost all of us. The wealthy worry about how they can keep making more money to keep up with their ballooning lifestyles, while the poor worry about scraping together enough money to pay bills at the end of the month.

Whatever end of the spectrum you’re on, science and research are clear that your financial stress is impacting your physical and mental health in adverse ways. The effects are both short-term and long-term.

“Of the patients that I would attribute their medical problems to stress, the overwhelming majority have money at the root,” says Dr. Arta Bakshandeh, senior medical officer with Alignment Healthcare. “Most commonly, these patients complain of headaches, elevated blood pressure, ulcers, depression and moderate to severe anxiety.”

Just as no two financial situations are identical, no two responses to financial stress are the same. The important thing is that you figure out how to reduce and manage stress so that it doesn’t overtake your life.

Specific Ways to Deal With Financial Stress

While many doctors choose to medicate stress and anxiety, the fact of the matter is that medicine does nothing but mask the underlying problem. If you’re dealing with financial stress, the best thing you can do is be proactive and take the necessary actions to dealing with the root issues. Here are some different steps you can take for specific issues:

· Poor credit. Having poor credit often feels like you have a scarlet letter stamped on your chest. It prevents you from making many purchases and can weigh heavy on you for years at a time. The good news is that it is possible to fix a bad score. Start with a credit repair service and see how they can help.

· Overwhelming debt. Whether it’s credit card debt, medical debt, student loan debt, a massive mortgage, or an oversized car loan, debt can feel overwhelming and constricting. Instead of letting more and more interest pile up, the best thing you can do is start snowballing the debt and making headway. You’ll have to pare down your lifestyle to nothing, but you’ll feel encouraged when you see the progress.

· Bleeding money. Have you ever felt like you’re bleeding money? It’s not like you have an income problem. There’s plenty of money coming in every month, yet your bank account looks the same (or smaller) by the end of the month. If this is the case, you need to take the time to get a grip on your finances and create a budget. This will show you exactly where you’re money is going and where you can eliminate superfluous expenses.

No matter what problem
you have, there are viable solutions if you’re willing to be proactive. As soon
as you instigate movement in this area, you’ll begin to feel the first layers
of stress peel away. Over time, the remaining anxiety will dissipate as you
gain control over the situation. What’s holding you back?