While money is a relatively common cause of stress and marital tension, a serious global economic downturn can have many people concerned about losing their home or their savings—or both. If you’re finding yourself stressed about money, the following steps can lead you to a greater sense of peace, and a brighter financial future.
When we feel threatened, our fight or flight response — the body’s stress response — kicks in and makes changes in the body. The heart rate quickens, stress hormones like cortisol are released, and a host of other changes occur that allow the body a quick burst of energy to run away fast or stay and fight.
While these strategies have worked for thousands of years, they aren’t always practical now. While that jolt of energy and alertness can inspire you to act, if your body remains in this state for long periods of time it can be damaging to your health.
That’s why it’s important to have some stress relief strategies that can be used in a variety of situations, to calm your body’s stress response so you can think clearly and stay healthier. Then you can work on solutions.
There are a few “all purpose” stress relief strategies that can work well here.
- Breathing exercises: Breathing exercises work well because it can be done anytime and anywhere. People don’t have to know you’re even doing it, but focusing on your breathing can help you calm your body and soothe tense emotions within a few short minutes.
- PMR: Progressive muscle relaxation is another fast-acting stress reliever. It’s simple, free, and can be done just about anywhere. Again, it can calm your body’s stress response so you don’t remain in a state of chronic stress.
- Journaling: For those who are really stressed and need to feel that they’re doing something, journaling about stressful emotions can help get them out of your head so you don’t end up ruminating on what stresses you. Be sure to end your journaling session with some brainstorming on solutions, and you’ll get a better sense of control over the situation and a more positive attitude.
While we can’t always control what happens to us, much of how we respond to life’s events depends on how we view what’s happening; how we make sense of it all.
If we see a life event as a threat, for example, we may react more negatively and helplessly than if we see it as a “challenge.” If we blame ourselves and imagine that things will never change, a stressful situation feels more overwhelming than if we remember that we can always find a silver lining with the dark clouds and that this, too, shall pass.
Reframe the Situation
Here are some specific types of reframing that can be very useful in getting through a financial crisis:
- If you’re feeling that your financial crisis is a form of personal failure, remind yourself that many, many people are in this situation as well. The situation itself is not a failure on your part, and working through it only demonstrates your strength.
- If you’re concerned about the impact on your family, remind yourself that families can grow stronger and closer when they weather challenges together and that this experience (although you may not have willingly chosen it) can make your family stronger, too.
- If you’re stressed about the uncertainty of the future, remind yourself that these changes also bring opportunity; down the road, you may find yourself in an even better place. Even if you don’t have more money, you may have more happiness.
By acknowledging the feelings and thoughts you have, and gently redirect your attention to the positive, you can lessen the stress you are experiencing. When you’re not feeling crushed under extreme levels of stress, you may even make choices that better maximize the opportunities that you still face.
Read the full artilcle at Verywellmind