Updated: Oct 11, 2022
Have you ever avoided checking your bank account balance because you were too scared to look? Or do you have trouble sleeping at night because you were up thinking about how you will pay your next bill? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, a survey by the U.S. News & World Report found that more than two-thirds of Americans are experiencing financial anxiety because of the cost of living, inflation, and living paycheck to paycheck.
What is financial anxiety and where does it stem from?
Financial anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, or unease about your finances. It is when money and financial concerns cause ongoing stress in your life and eventually spiral into anxiety. This anxiety can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. It can cause insomnia, loss of appetite, an inability to focus, depression, and anxiety disorder.
For me, financial anxiety and fears regarding money were norms throughout my childhood. I grew up in a household where most of the arguments between my parents pertained to money or the lack of it. When I became an adult, I started to always get this anxious feeling or have nervous breakdowns when it came to money. I mean, I could be making a decent salary and all my bills are paid, but I still would feel worried about my financial situation. What I didn't realize was that my subconscious mind was being programmed as a child to perceive money this way. My false perception about money was altering my reality in the present moment, and I knew I had to do something about it.
How can you face & overcome financial anxiety?
The most common reaction to financial anxiety is avoidance. If you can’t see your finances, then you don’t know how bad they are, right? However, avoiding your finances instead of managing them only worsens the situation. In the long run, you'll only dig a deeper hole for yourself, so instead of resisting, I suggest you ...
Get financially literate. Knowledge is power. Reading financial articles or learning financial terms each day will help to wire your brain. We tend to worry the most about things we do not know, so educate yourself about all things money and finances.
Make a plan. A monthly budget tells you where your money is going each month. Instead of worrying about not having enough or hoping you don’t spend too much, make a budget based on your monthly income and expenses. Sometimes just having a plan in place can help reduce anxiety because it mitigates worry about the unknown.
Think positive. The first step to overcoming something is to believe that you actually can. Negative thoughts and words only continue anxious thoughts, and can even make them worse. Reciting positive money affirmations frequently can shift your mindset from scarcity thinking to think more abundantly.
Walk in gratitude. The best way to curve anxiety is to be grateful. Gratitude helps train your brain to notice and appreciate the little things in life. The brain can't respond to anxiety and gratitude at the same time, which means, it's one or the other.
Employ self-care techniques. Financial anxiety can have physical and emotional symptoms. You can counteract these symptoms by incorporating stress-reducing activities like yoga, journaling, meditation, and exercise into your daily routine.
Get professional help. It can take time to resolve long-standing financial challenges, but you don’t have to navigate your fears and worries alone. A financial advisor can offer more guidance with the numbers, while a therapist can support you in finding helpful techniques to manage anxiety and stress.
I know that this topic isn't talked about enough so a lot of this information is new, but I hope this blog post brings more awareness to financial anxiety and how you can overcome it as I did.
If you have any questions or need additional help, feel free to check out the links below for more resources.
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