The Effects of Debt on Mental Health
When it comes to your mental health, feeling safe and secure is an important part of combatting issues of anxiety that are more and more commonplace in today’s society. Money won’t always bring us happiness that’s true, but what it can do, and does, is alleviate many of the financial worries that each of us faces on a daily basis.
Falling into debt can amplify our everyday stresses. It will be a constant reminder that things aren’t going as well as we planned and the outcomes of failing to overcome this any additional financial strain could mean serious consequences leading to deeper and more serious mental health issues.
Bipolar disorder can affect day-to-day decision-making processes; mania will undoubtedly create spending habits that aren’t considered rational or well thought through. Depleted energy levels and failure to engage in life due to depression often lead to time off work creating a reduced income.
Insufficient attention to financial decision-making due to the effects of any mental health problem can leave us totally unaware of the seriousness of our problems until they’re too far out of control. These could be the choices that mean we’re often spending more than we earn. Turning these problems around when you’re already far from your normal self will simply feel like a mountain too big to climb.
It’s a Two-Way Problem That Feeds Itself
Unmanageable debt can often be the cause of poor mental health — and poor mental health can lead to poor financial choices and spending behaviors that lead to debt. It’s the chicken or the egg situation all over again.
Worrying about your finances, the array of unpaid bills, outstanding credit card balances, store cards and catalog credit that have grown to problem amounts isn’t going to help you sleep at night — especially if you’re struggling to see a way to repay them. And if going on a spending spree or taking a holiday is your way of coping then instead of feeling better about the situation it’s only going to lead you further into your spiral.
We often think of getting into debt as a problem we create for ourselves by overspending, living the life we want but can’t afford to make us feel better about ourselves; retail therapy, weekend breaks, holidays and dining out, yet the most common reasons behind debt problems are often out of our control and can happen to anyone; unemployment and redundancy are two of the biggest factors that lead to debt problems.
Failing to Pay Our Way
The worry unemployment brings, the concern of how to pay the bills each month; the mortgage, the rent, to feed and clothe your family, getting your kids to school, all of those simple basics on a severely reduced income can be some of the biggest triggers leading to serious mental health problems.
In psychology, we learn that shame and fear are two of the big players that lead to poor mental health. Not being able to present ourselves as living our best lives, being scared of what might happen if we fail, what others will think of us when we do; all of these things bring problems that are complicated to control and manage, and if you drop failing to manage problem debts into the middle of those thought processes it can only trigger more of the same unhealthy feelings.
What Can we do?
A 2010 study showed that half of the adults in the United Kingdom with serious debt problems were also suffering poor mental health and from a range of different disorders.
The problem is much more common than you would think and there is a range of options to help get your life and your finances back under control.
Of course, you won’t feel like doing any of the things required to make those changes if you’re feeling empty and exhausted. That’s why you’re going to need some help.
Share the Problem
If you feel that you haven’t got what it takes to attack your problems, both financially and mentally, find someone who can and is willing to help. Ask a family member, a close friend or a professional to help you organize and perform the tasks required to move forward in your recovery.
Ask them to make a solid plan with you and have them help with the areas you feel you can’t attend to on your own. Write everything down. Create a list of each problem area and how you are going to tackle it. You are much more likely to address the elements on your plan if you do it as part of a team. Once you start chipping away at this list your brain will feel like it’s actively addressing the problem and create positive healthy chemicals that will help you feel better.
Make Arrangements With Your Creditors
Once you’ve made your plan act on it. Talk to all the people you owe money to and ask them for options that are mutually beneficial solutions to your current money problem. Your bank will be able to arrange for you to take a break in your mortgage. They could also offer a range of services to help you through a financially tough period that you haven’t considered.
Debt management specialists will also offer a complete range of solutions that can help you take a break from repayments, changing the terms of loans to become more manageable, or even getting your debts written off if there’s no other way out. They deal with people in your position every day and as professionals, they are in the best place to understand which options are the most appropriate to your situation.
Look After Yourself
Your mental health and your physical health are very closely linked. If you feel low there are things that will help create the chemicals you need to feel better.
Eat healthy, take exercise. Try and maintain a regular sleep pattern. Spend time around other people. Visit friends or organize for them to visit you. Being in good company provides so many of the chemicals we need to live as healthy happy human beings. Don’t underestimate the power of friends and family.
Therapy and counseling solutions are more available than ever. Talk to your GP about available options. Talking about how you feel is incredibly important when dealing with mental health problems and asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Counseling and psychotherapy can enlighten us of our emotional behaviors helping us to achieve things from life we never thought we were capable of.
Plan for the Future
In popular psychology, it is often suggested that if we keep doing the same things we’ll keep getting the same results. In order to prevent falling into poor mental health or financial problems in the future it’s important we make plans to prevent it.
Try and build a safety net of resources by setting money aside each month when you’re financially back on track. Keep a much stricter eye on what you earn and what you spend. Company that can fix your debts and draws up a new budget that will keep you not only financially healthy but also one that plans for a financially and mentally healthy future you can look forward to.
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