Explore How your Relationship with Money may Impact your Mental Health 

Do you ever lie awake at night, consumed by worries about your bank balance? Do thoughts of bills, debts, and financial uncertainty plague your mind more frequently than you’d like? If these thoughts sound familiar, you’re not alone.

Financial stressors, like the questions above, can cause real psychological distress. It affects people from all walks of life and can make them feel anxious, stressed, and even guilty. Whether it’s due to unexpected expenses, overwhelming debt, or the fear of not having enough, dealing with money problems can be emotionally draining. Studies, like one conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), have shown that 72% of Americans occasionally experience stress related to money.

But why does money have such a strong impact on our mental well-being? Money carries deep emotional significance for many of us. Our attitudes towards money shape our thoughts and actions – from how we save and spend to how we feel about ourselves. Understanding this emotional connection is crucial for managing financial distress and promoting psychological well-being.

Understanding Financial Distress:

Financial distress refers to the excess stress and/or worry caused by real or imagined money issues, which can significantly impact our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Imagine feeling overwhelmed because you owe a lot of money and can’t pay it back, leading to anxiety and difficulty focusing at work. Or perhaps you’re hit with a sudden expense like a big medical bill, leaving you feeling hopeless and alone. Sometimes, similar stress like worrying about losing your job or not having enough money to get by can also cause physical symptoms like stomach pain or trouble sleeping. Another common source of financial distress is comparing ourselves to others who seem to have more money. Seeing friends or neighbors with expensive gadgets or fancy clothes might make us feel inadequate or envious, adding to our stress about money. 

Every day stress about money comes and goes. Still, financial distress can stick around—and if left unexplored or questioned, can start to impact your relationships, career, or overall quality of life. It can leave you feeling angry, ashamed, or fearful, fuel tension and arguments with those closest to you, worsen pain and mood swings, and even increase your risk of depression and anxiety. You may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as drinking, abusing drugs, or gambling, to try to escape your worries. In the worst circumstances, financial distress can even prompt suicidal thoughts or actions. 

Get to Know Your Relationship with Money:

These journaling prompts can help you better understand your relationship with money and how it may impact your mental health. Take some time to reflect on these questions and see what insights you uncover.

  1. Think about a time recently when money made you worried or stressed. What happened, and how did it make you feel and act?
  2. Remember back to when you were younger. How did your family feel about money, and did that affect how you think about money now?
  3. Have you ever compared yourself to someone else when it comes to money? How did that make you feel, and did it change how you spend money or how you feel about yourself?
  4. What are your goals for money right now? Do they match what you really want, or do you feel like you have to do them because of what others think?

Reminder: If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by money worries, know you’re not alone. Financial distress can take a toll on our mental health and well-being, impacting our thoughts, emotions, and actions. By understanding the emotional significance of money in our lives and exploring our relationship with it, we can begin to manage financial distress more effectively. Consider exploring these journaling prompts to dive deeper into your relationship with money and its potential impact on your mental health. Also, seeking support and guidance from trusted professionals or loved ones can significantly improve your financial challenges. Connect with me on Facebook and Instagram @aumubera to continue exploring this topic and discover more strategies for promoting your financial wellness.