How can you manage debt-related stress?

If you face financial stress, you are not alone. Research done on the causes of emotional and mental struggles has stated that many adults all over the globe are troubled by some form of a stressful money issue.

According to the 2022 Stress in America report by the American Psychological Association, there were 66% of adults who considered money as a big source of stress. So, how can you manage debt-related stress? Professionals say it may be time to tackle the counterproductive habit of money avoidance.

What is money avoidance?

Brown University neuroscientist and psychiatrist Judson Brewer explained that money avoidance is basically dodging actions or encounters that remind a person of their money situation. Money avoidance habits may include these three common actions:

  • Not checking bank accounts
  • Not opening credit card apps
  • Not budgeting

Self-awareness is your best tool when it comes to addressing financial problems and debt-related stress. This is especially true when mounting money difficulties have the tendency to make you avoid anything that will remind you about your financial situation.

So, what can you do about money avoidance habits?

Beyond self-awareness, there are some more proactive steps that you can take to handle financial stress as well as manage your debt-related issues. You can:

  • Accept that there is a problem. This is the very first step in gaining self-awareness and going against the tide of money avoidance. Accepting the problem allows you to be clear on the root cause of the financial difficulty and take firm steps to come up with a viable resolution.
  • Speak to someone. While talking to a professional mental health practitioner is always advised, opening up to a trusted friend or family member who can help validate the emotional struggle, listen without judgment and hopefully offer well-intentioned advice can help as well.
  • Research. Once you have acknowledged that there is a problem in your finances, it is time to scour reliable resources that will inform you of the necessary steps that will improve your financial situation. This may sound tedious, but it can also be an empowering activity.

Mental health and financial professionals also quipped in a pre-pandemic NBC News feature that tackling the denial stage of your financial grief will get you in the right headspace to find ways to address money issues like debts.

Recognize the emotional toll debt can have

Being in mounting debt and other series of financial troubles often brings with it a heavy feeling of shame. Sometimes, this emotion can make you feel alone as it pushes you to isolate yourself from others. This, however, might lead you to become more stressed and depressed—and end up further debilitating you from taking the necessary steps in solving the money problems.

There may be a ton of other tips and advice on how to manage debt-related stress—seeking financial coaching, using tools to minimize debts, taking up a side gig—but the most critical step is to face money issues head-on and accept that you might need help.

By cultivating a state of awareness and acceptance, you can be more honest with yourself about the root causes of the problems, become more proactive in coming up with solutions and take doable steps towards managing your debts effectively.

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