Have you noticed that your pocketbook has been a little lighter these days? Unless you’re living in that proverbial hole where people go to drown out those incessant erectile dysfunction commercials, then you’ve no doubt heard the gloomy news about our economy. If you’ve really paid attention, then you might have learned a few new words along the way like “fiscal cliff and “sequester.” Fancy!
On a more personal level, all of these money worries might be starting to hit home. If you’re having trouble making ends meet, then you may be more concerned over whether you’ll have electricity tomorrow than the national debt crisis.
What is all of this financial fuss is doing to your mental and emotional health, though? If you’re like most people experiencing money worries, you’re likely feeling tense and anxious. Have you noticed that you’re getting more headaches than normal? Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? These are common reactions to financial stress, and if they’re not irritating enough on their own, the worst part is, they make you less productive, which could negatively affect your ability to earn the money you so desperately need. No fair, right?
I have good news for you, though. You don’t have to fall victim to the inhibiting effects of excessive money worries. You can learn how to deal with stress related to finances, so that they don’t wear you down physically, emotionally, and mentally. Here are 4 of the best strategies I’ve found for putting money worries at bay.
1. Schedule a time to worry.
Being financially secure is important, so I’m not telling you that it’s nothing to worry about. But if you’re going to worry, at least you can do it in a way that doesn’t take over your whole life. Decide on a time during the day or week to mull over your money worries for, say, thirty minutes at a time. Try to spend this time working on solutions to your money woes rather than just beating your head against a wall. Most importantly, though, stop worrying when time’s up. If money worries creep up after your scheduled worry session, just tell yourself that you can deal with them during your next “appointment.”
2. Address the problem.
A lot of people looking for a solution to deal with stress over their budgets simply give up and fall into denial. This is a bad idea. While it may offer you temporary relief, when you decide to come back to the real world, your money worries will be even worse than they were before.
3. Don’t deprive yourself.
If you’re trying to find a way to deal with stress over money, depriving yourself is not the answer. Really. It will just make you feel depressed, which is another of those ugly, self-defeating emotions. Even if you do have to buckle the belt a little, you can still find cheap or even free ways to indulge. Check out a romance novel at the public library, and spend an hour snuggled up with it, for instance.
4. Revel in life’s natural rewards.
It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when money worries start cramping your style. Trust me, I know. But I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to get over yourself is to find joy in the things that money can’t buy, like the smell of rain or the feel of grass under your feet. Lying on your back looking up at the vastness of the sky or feeling the warm rays of the sun can soothe you from the inside out. These are things we all have at our disposal, and they don’t cost a thing. Now that’s something to be truly joyful about.