Anxiety and Financial Uncertainty

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • Times are tough. Even if your family is financially secure, you might worry about what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month. Unemployment is high, prices of food and gas have skyrocketed and the real estate market hasn't yet revived. Talk with your neighbors, chances are several are out of work. Drive down the street and you will see "for sale" signs sitting in front of houses that are already vacant or the signs have been there for months. Your paycheck doesn't go as far as it used to and many families that were just making it before are running out of money before the end of the month.

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    It's hard not to worry about your financial situation in times like this. Our survival is tied to our money, we use it for shelter, food and warmth. It is normal to be concerned, but what do you do when worry begins to interfere with your life and health? If you aren't sure whether you are just stressed or are showing signs of generalized anxiety disorder, Jerilyn Ross compares the two in the article: Generalized Anxiety Disorder vs. General Anxiety About the Economy: What's the Difference?

    The first step is to be aware of how stress and anxiety can interfere with your health:

    Loss of sleep - Lying awake at night worrying about your situation is a pretty common reaction to financial uncertainty. But losing sleep can make you more susceptible to illness and decrease your cognitive abilities during the day. You are more prone to have ups and downs in your mood and be irritable with those around you.

    Appetite changes- When you are worried, you may not feel like eating or you may overeat as a way of coping with your stress. Both are unhealthy habits that can impact your overall health.

    Unhealthy coping behaviors - You may use different ways to numb your feelings of anxiety and stress. Drinking heavily, increased smoking, uncontrollable anger are all unhealthy ways of coping with stress and can create even more problems in your life.

    Depression - When you don't see a way out of your situation and feel helpless and hopeless, you are more prone to developing symptoms of depression.

    If you are in financial trouble, or are afraid that you will be in financial trouble, you might begin to cut back on expenses, avoiding going to the doctor because you don't have insurance or can't afford the doctor's visit and medication right now. This can lead to even more health problems. If you don't have insurance or can't afford medical care: Mental Health Resources When You Don't Have Health Insurance

    Some tips that can help:

    Decide if you need to talk to a financial advisor. Although you may be worried about the cost, it could save you money in the long-term and help you control your worry about finances immediately. If you are overcome by large credit card debt, there are debt counselors who will work with you and your credit card company to help you pay off your debt, many of these services are offered for free.

    Create a budget. If you are living beyond your means, then it is time to look over your monthly expenses and see what you can cut. If you are spending money on frivolous items, it may be time to cut back and use money for necessities only.

  • Check your community for local resources. If you have lost your job or are in danger of losing your home, contact local agencies, such as the Salvation Army or the United Way and ask what services are available in your area.

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    Don't ignore your health. Make sure you continue to take care of yourself, get enough sleep, eat right and exercise each day. If you can't afford health care, check out the resources in Mental Health Resources When You Don't Have Health Insurance. If you can't stop worrying and it is interfering with your daily life, consider talking with your doctor or a therapist.

Published On: August 08, 2011