How Money Worries Can Affect Your Health
Across the globe, we’re suffering from huge economic struggles. Following the Covid pandemic, there has been a huge surge in the cost of living and, with the Ukraine crisis having an untold impact on the cost of fuel and energy, there’s almost no aspect of living which hasn’t seen an unprecedented increase over the past 12 months.
In a recent survey, 90% of adults reported that money was a source of stress and two-thirds of survey participants said that they felt as though they couldn’t overcome financial difficulties, which were soon piling up. 40% of participants said that they were also taking no steps in order to secure their financial future. Money is the number one cause of stress for 52% of adults, and that figure comes even before a global pandemic took hold.
There are many links to the ways that money-related stress can impact your health. It’s not just a matter of the solution being to “make more money”, but instead revolves around having control over your day-to-day finances and being able to navigate making financial choices and enjoying life. For some people, this can be hugely overwhelming, particularly if they are already struggling with stress and mental health-related illnesses.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the ways in which financial difficulty can have toxic implications on your health, and how you can work towards solving these concerns.
Money Problems Impact Your Mental Health
It’s not surprising that one of the biggest impacts that financial stress can have on your health is on your mental health. Whilst a certain amount of financial stress can be helpful when it comes to creating new decision-making habits around money, such as the flutter of nerves you feel when making a large purchase or investment, too much can have huge impacts on your mental well-being.
Part of the reason why financial stress is considered to be so toxic is because of how all-consuming it can become. Money plays a part in a number of day-to-day activities, such as buying groceries, providing for your family or paying rent and bills and worrying about money can lead to you worrying about all of these other things, particularly so if you have a family to care for.
Financial stress is pervasive. It often feels never-ending and as though you have nowhere to turn without running into your financial situation. Over time, financial stress – especially when combined with the lack of sleep that so often accompanies stress – can lead to complex trauma. Research has shown that adults who experience major financial stress, such as falling behind on bills, being unable to afford basic requirements such as food, or experiencing an ongoing and worsening financial situation, report feeling greater levels of psychological stress and lower levels of well-being.
Money Worries Can Be The Cause Of Ongoing Sleep Problems
One of the biggest health-related ripples that come from financial stress is disrupted sleep or insomnia. Loss of sleep or sleep disturbance is one of the biggest indicators that something isn’t quite right and your body is out of balance in some way. Financial stress is likely to be one of the biggest causes of sleep issues and during the pandemic, rates of insomnia increased by 27%, with increased financial stress one of the biggest contributors.
The link between financial stress and disrupted sleep is not a new discovery. It has long been discussed that individuals who live in areas with high unemployment rates or experience economic vulnerability tend to get less sleep than people who live in areas with low unemployment rates or who haven’t experienced financial stress.
Worried People Are At Higher Risk Of Chronic Illness
Exposure to financial stress can have long-term physical effects on your body, not just your mental health. This is because stress triggers a series of physical reactions in your body – your heart rate increases, your muscles tense and breathing quickens – as a result of increased levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
These hormones act as messengers and prepare the body to cope with perceived levels of threat. If this response is chronic and ongoing, as is the case with financial stress, it can lead to problems such as high cholesterol, muscle pain and hypertension.
In one study, researchers found that participants with moderate to high levels of financial stress were more likely to develop coronary heart disease issues, such as heart attacks and heart disease, than those who didn’t go through financial stress. Financial stress is linked with higher rates of chronic illness and disease overall and those who experience high financial stress are three times more likely to take prescribed medication for chronic illnesses and are twice as likely to report poor health overall.
If you are facing money problems, then there is often a strong temptation to try and face these issues alone. A lot of people going through financial difficulties feel as though it is a shameful and taboo subject, but it isn’t. You may feel awkward discussing your financial situation with others, but bottling things up will make your financial situation far worse. Talking with someone about your financial struggles will help to lighten the load and, in the current climate where many people are struggling through no fault of their own, you’ll likely find that people are understanding of your problems.
One of the biggest and more modern financial problems that people face is trading and investments. A lot of people are hooked on making investments as a way of potentially increasing their wealth with short-term returns, but often, as these investors are inexperienced, will make mistakes and lose their funds fairly quickly, or fall victim to scams. In the past, if this happened then you’d need to accept that, unfortunately, your money had gone, but now there are investment fraud lawyers who operate on a no-win, no-fee basis to help you recover lost wealth, particularly if you have lost a large and considerable amount of money.
Depending on where you live, there are numerous organisations that provide free counselling and support services if you are dealing with financial problems, whether it’s managing debt repayments, sticking to budgets, finding work or claiming benefits. Check out local services to you, or speak to Citizens Advice for advice and guidance.