The Relationship Between Your Mental Health and Finances

When you are experiencing a financial problem, your mental health will likely suffer in turn. It can also work the other way around: Your finances may suffer if your mental health is declining.

According to research, mental health problems and financial issues often go hand-in-hand. A study found that individuals with depression and anxiety are thrice more likely to be in debt, while other studies discovered a link between debt and suicide.

Moreover, a 2003 study had also found that workers with mental health problems earned less than their healthy peers. Men with a serious mental illness only earned $28,070, whereas their healthy counterparts earned $54,505. Among women, those battling a serious mental illness earned $18,700, while healthy ones were able to take home $28,026.

Indeed, a mental health problem is a costly burden to individuals and business entities. In the U.S., individuals collectively lose $193 billion to it, while corporations lose $1 trillion in productivity. So what makes mental health and finances interrelated, and how will addressing one solve the other?

Increased Stress Leads to Poorer Mental Health

A slight decline in mental health (the point long before meeting the criteria for a diagnosis) can be connected to increased financial stress. And the more stressed you are, the faster your mental health declines.

From then on, the impact on your finances will go deeper the longer you suffer a declined mental health. Here’s what extreme financial and mental strain does to your life:

  • Make You Feel Out of Control

When you experience a financial problem or a mental health issue, your moods will often darken, and you’d feel like you’ve lost control over it. As such, you’d also feel like your life has gone out of your control.

This could cause you to lose hope in your future. Whatever big purchases you’re planning, you’d be forced to postpone them, because you’d hold on the little control you have left, which is smaller and usually insignificant purchases.

  • Make You Avoid Problems

It takes a tremendous amount of discipline and focus to deal with stacks of bills and address late credit card payments. But when you’re depressed or anxious, you’d lose your energy to do those. Even sitting down to create a budget plan will intimidate you, so instead, you’ll avoid your growing financial problems and not face them.

  • Make You Crave for a Temporary Relief

Because you feel out of control, you’ll turn to the things that give you temporary, albeit short-term comforts, like shopping, food, or alcohol. As such, your debts will pile up, causing greater problems in the future.

  • Plunge Your Self-esteem

A lowered self-esteem may also push you to buy expensive items so that you’d appear more successful.

  • Cloud Your Thinking

When your mental health is on the verge of breaking down, it’ll be hard to think about your essential expenses and budget. You may also struggle to make decisions, and organizing your messed-up financial situation may feel more difficult than it actually is.

paper bills and coins

Coping With Financial Stress

The sooner you learn to cope with your financial problems, the better your chances of saving your mental health. Below are some ways to start addressing your debts and lost savings:

  • Understand the Debt Cycle

Sit down and list down all of your unpaid debts, and understand how you’ll get out of them. When you learn about the debt cycle, you regain the control you feel like you’ve lost. After all, it’s you who can create a repayment plan.

  • Find Additional Sources of Income

Consider working on a side-hustle, preferably on a field you enjoy or are passionate about. Choosing a second job that you love is crucial because it should be the source of your strength and hope while relieving your debts, not an additional mental load.

  • Reorganize Your Budget Regularly

Don’t wait until your breaking point to start organizing your budget. Once you do that, set regular budget-check schedules so that you can always keep track on where your money is going. That way, you’ll be able to trace the unnecessary expenses that drain out your savings. This will also help you regain control of your finances and mental health.

  • Practice Healthy Stress Management

As you slowly recover from your financial problem, don’t forget to do self check-ins and to monitor your mental health. Relieving all your debts isn’t a magical solution to your depression, anxiety, or any other mood disorder. If your stress has started to affect even the non-financial aspects of your life, you may already need to visit a trusted mental health clinic and receive professional counseling or therapy.

Mental health issues and financial problems shouldn’t be taken lightly. Affected people must get help early on, because, like any other serious disease, a mental illness also increases in severity over time, exhausting not just a person’s savings, but also their happiness, hope, and desire to live.

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