The Effects Of Financial Stress On Your Heart And 6 Ways To Overcome Them

“Money, money, money.
Must be funny.
In a rich man’s world.”

Truer words haven’t been sung. ABBA definitely knew what they were talking about.

Mortgages, credit card debts, lack of job security, and many other financial stressors can take a big toll on much more than just your money. It can take a toll on your mind, your heart, and your overall health. This is a financially unstable world where everything runs on money. And in this consumerism driven society, the money you earn will never be enough to satiate your ever-expanding need for things. It’s safe to say that money troubles will always be there no matter what you do. But what you don’t realize in this rat race of earning money is how these financial stressors are affecting your health.

Scientists have started looking into the connections between stress, stress factors, and cardiovascular diseases. These things might seem arbitrary but they all somehow lead back to money. The connections become clearer as you read this article.

Money, Stress, And Heart Health

According to the Stress In America survey conducted in 2015 by the American Psychological Association, money happens to be one of the top stress factors in America. As per the survey, parents, low-income individuals, and younger generations happen to be worst affected by this stress factor. This survey found out that a staggering 72% of Americans feel stressed out because of money.1

Another shocking revelation to come out of this survey is that the gap in stress levels was minuscule between the people from higher income group and lower income group back in 2007. But this gap has grown significantly wider as per the 2015 survey. All these stress factors have started affecting the lives of people in a big way. Individuals from lower income groups have started putting their healthcare needs at bay due to their financial woes.2

Believe it or not, money woes can also directly affect your heart health. A study was conducted in Johannesburg with 106 patients from a public hospital to explore the effects of stress on heart health. This research was presented at the Annual Congress of South African Heart Association in November 2017. About 96% of the patients admitted being under some stress whereas 40% reported being under severe stress. Interestingly, the researchers found out that moderate to severe occupational stress can increase the risk of a heart attack by 5 to 6 folds whereas financial worries can increase the same by 13 folds.3

Money woes are here to stay as long as we live in a world that is run by money. It is a fact that can’t be changed. But you can definitely take preventive measures to handle your financial stress better.

6 Ways To Beat The Money Blues

1. Be Active

Your body needs to move to be healthy and happy. So, keep it healthy by taking on exciting activities like exercising, meditating, or swimming. Physical activities produce happy hormones (endorphin) in your body that will help you to deal with your stress better. When you take care of your body, it affects your mind as well. Your ability to push (stress) yourself physically will enable your brain to take on more stress mentally as well.4

2. Sleep Well

Humans are monophasic sleepers. That means you need to sleep for a few good hours at a stretch to rejuvenate your body and mind. Stress has a counterproductive effect on your sleep. Thankfully, exercise and mindfulness meditation can help you to counter that effect. Your sleep can strengthen your body and prohibit it from falling apart under pressure and stress. When things get hard, take more care of yourself because you need to be healthier to fight harder.5

3. Follow A Healthy Diet

You are what you eat. So, eat healthy food and load up on essential vitamins and minerals. Good nutrition helps in maintaining a healthy mind and body. When you are stressed, your food habits can take a hit. You might feel like skipping meals, eating at odd times, or binging on fast foods when you’re under pressure. But refrain from doing so. Put in some extra effort to stick to your diet to help your body sustain itself.

4. Be Professionally Proactive

You need to plan better if you want to get ahead in this rat race. So, be proactive about your professional commitments and finances. Keep looking out for better opportunities if you are struggling to make your ends meet with your current salary. Keep your resume updated and keep yourself open to all the opportunities that come your way.

5. Manage Your Finances Better

Debts and mortgages can leave a big dent in your finance as well as your mental peace. But you can handle this stress by managing your finances better. Make use of technology to help you plan better. Document all your expenses to keep a tab on the money you are spending. Cut down on non-essentials to save money. Start saving and investing judiciously to get through the money crunch.

6. Practice Gratitude

When things get hard, it is easy to lose perspective on life. But remember to practice gratitude every day. Count your blessings and be thankful for them. Bad days are a temporary inconvenience that will soon pass. But healthy relationships and good values can be a permanent source of bliss if you allow them to be.

Money comes and money goes. So, don’t sweat over it too much. You are only going to get this one life with all the people you love. Plan better (financially and emotionally) to make the most of it. And ask for help when you need it.