Stressed By Money? Why And How to Overcome

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The American Psychological Association recently reported that 72% of people reported feeling stressed about money in the past four weeks. Presumably the remaining 28% were too stressed about money even to answer the survey.

We’ve all been there. While being on a low income is obviously extremely stressful, it’s now well known that middle incomers can experience severe financial stress too, as they try to keep up with the high outgoings of middle-class family life, without being awarded the material or emotional support offered to the worse off. Even those who have earned or inherited assets in the billions are reporting stress about their financial status, according to recent studies (more in this article from the New York Post, and The Guardian here).

Inequality, guilt, identity confusion or just plain not being able to pay the bills. Mo money, mo problems. Less money, mo problems too. It seems like you can't win.

So how best to take a step back from anxiety and approach your personal finances like a laughing Buddha?

Astute financial planning, including properly understanding your household budget and prioritizing debt-repayment will help those struggling to make ends meet. Philanthropy and specialist psychotherapy might be the answer for those at the opposite end of the spectrum.

But as with everything that keeps us up at night, the real answers lie in simpler, ancient human practices. Move more. Eat plants. Try to live in the moment, whether it’s by listening to your breath, planting a window box or dancing. Give to others. And remember that it’s family and community, not stuff, that makes you feel good.

If you don’t check your emails, Instagram or financial newsletters in the last 5 minutes before bed, nothing bad will happen. In fact something good might. Is it dark outside now? Is everyone else asleep? Please go… We’ll still be here in the morning.

 

Photo by Lena Bell on Unsplash.