Financial and personal health are more connected than many realize and there have been numerous studies over the last few decades confirming this. Debt has a debilitating effect on people’s health and wellbeing, not to mention their finances. And it’s such an important topic because both health and finances are playing an enormous role in our lives. Distress over finances has been linked to migraines, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more. Additionally, it affects our ability to work, resulting in less income and additional costs in the form of medical expenses. Let’s examine how these topics are related and what can be done to break the negative cycle of bad finances and bad health.
There is a study by the APA (American Psychological Association), which stated that 26% of Americans report feeling chronic stress over financial challenges all or most of the time. Chronic stress has a direct link to physical health issues, causing high levels of adrenaline and cortisol in the body which adversely affects sleep, as well as our bodies’ ability to fight off disease among other issues. High levels of stress can also contribute to substance abuse issues, which of course can lead to a multitude of health problems.
Another component of this negative feedback loop between debt, finances and health problems is the fact that many people will delay or forgo entirely healthcare for their health issues, which compounds the problem and can lead to even worse ailments, and ironically - ends up costing them even more money. Also, the link between mental health and financial despondency is very strong. There is a report by the Clinical Psychology Review in which researchers determined that people who carry debt are three times as likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and even psychotic disorders as those who did not. The link is even grimmer between suicide and debt; people who commit suicide are eight times more likely to be in debt!
What’s the problem?
Clearly, the problem here is that these kinds of cycles can quickly spiral out of control, which can lead to extreme consequences for people. And we can see the physical manifestation of this crisis in many of our cities, with the explosion of homelessness. So what exactly can be done? Every situation is unique, but for those trying to regain control of their financial lives, as well as their health and wellbeing - there are some steps that can be taken to help lay a foundation, to get healthier on both fronts.
What’s the solution?
So let’s put forth some solutions. Here are several ways for people to break the negative cycle of financial struggle and health problems:
One of the most important factors for everyone is to Create a Budget. This is really one of the easiest steps someone can take and so important because it will help them gain clarity about their situation, and that’s a great starting point to improving it. They may not like what they see at first, but outlining income and expenses will provide a good starting point. It’s really no different than someone who wants to lose weight looking in the mirror and not being pleased with the image reflected back to them. The point of this is to better control spending and increase savings. It’s important to do this by making a commitment to plan for your future and commit to a budget to help you get there. Really, it’s about valuing yourself.
Pay close attention to your food budgeting. It is a big monthly expense, but you can begin to control both the cost and quality of your nutrition by preparing healthy meals for yourself, rather than eating out, which typically is more expensive and less healthy. This will have a positive impact on both your health and finances.
Get some exercise: it’s important to do something every day to physically move your body. It may seem irrelevant, but there are many benefits to even moderate exercise, many of which are directly related to counteracting the stress that can result from not just financial challenges but just from everyday life. Even something as simple as going for a walk can increase energy and release endorphins, which can enhance our mood, and as a result, give us a more positive outlook for the future. Cognitive ability improves as well, which helps your decision-making. Another byproduct of regular exercise is it promotes a healthy body, which can prevent illness, and reduce medical expenses. And don’t forget about sleep as well - it’s so important to get adequate sleep to improve all of our mental and physical faculties.
Another thing important is to feed your mind: our minds are like sponges, and the quality of our life can expand or shrink based on the quality of information we feed it. I’d suggest reading positive, inspiring books or listen to books on tape or podcasts that inspire you. They don’t have to all be about finances either. I’d say pick a topic that appeals to you and start there. I really believe that as we make positive changes within ourselves, is when we’ll begin to see those improvements manifest externally, such as with our finances.
Don't forget about a healthy lifestyle, nutritious food, and an exercise regimen - that will give you the foundation for increased energy, which you can utilize to your advantage by increasing your workload. If your mind is clear and your body is healthy, you can put more time in at work or you can start a side gig for extra income, which you can apply towards helping you towards improving your finances by reducing debt and/or increasing savings. Your health is truly your wealth, and focusing on steps that can improve your wellbeing will inevitably carry over to other aspects of your life such as increased energy, confidence and focus.
Make the commitment to value yourself now and in the future, by devoting yourself to a healthy lifestyle, which can eventually lead to a wealthy lifestyle. This includes not only adequate nutrition, exercise, and sleep, but also budgeting, saving and eliminating debt. These should be the foundation on which you build a life that is financially and physically healthy and abundant.
If you're feeling overwhelmed and struggling with debt, feel free to Contact Us for a free consultation today. Our certified debt relief experts at Financial Rescue can help you to get out of debt faster and reduce the overall amount of debt.