Debt is something that we all have in our life. We live in a debt-ridden nation. The student loan debt has doubled over the years. Every household has credit card debt. More than a third of Americans haven’t paid their bills. They are afraid of collection agencies.
The PEW research revealed that more than 14 million people in the United States had lost their employment during the pandemic.
The unemployment rate increased dramatically from under 4% in February 2020 to 14.4% in April 2020.
In comparison, after the Great Recession of 2008, unemployment barely rose to 10.6%.
As a result, many people struggled to pay their bills, including medical bills, primarily if their work-provided health insurance was no longer available.
But how awful can it be for you? Regardless of who you are or why you owe money, being in debt can harm your physical and mental health.
The connection between financial wellbeing and our overall health
There is a connection between financial well-being and emotional distress. Debt incurred out of necessity, rather than for property investments, is very stressful. Many families have been compelled to raise their borrowing due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial consequences. Due to their debt obligations, many people skip medical care, rent payments and change their purchasing behavior. There is evidence that when a person’s debt load lowers, so do their depression symptoms.
Debt and a lack of control is causing helplessness and depression
Debt has been linked to feelings of unhappiness, worry, and even suicidal ideation.
While not everyone in debt has diagnosable worry, it is vital to seek assistance if needed.
Another dreadful aspect is the feeling of powerlessness in the face of it.
As we’ve seen during the pandemic, many people have discovered that they have little control over their life and finances are distressing.
How does debt affect your physical and mental health?
People who are in debt and struggle to pay their expenses are under a lot of stress, which manifests itself in various ways. These can include insomnia, constant anxiety, and a lack of focus. Doctors have admitted that it may be a lot worse than you believe. When you’re constantly worrying about bills, creditors, and whether you’ll be able to pay rent, it takes a toll on your self-esteem and cognitive performance. You often make rash decisions that can lead to even more financial difficulties. It’s a vicious cycle that may wreak havoc on your physical and mental well-being. Here’s how.
Debt load can create anxiety issues
Debt has a significant influence on your psychological health. You get a sensation of being underwater and unable to escape. If this feeling lasts for a long time, it inflicts massive damage to your health.
It can elevate your blood pressure.
According to a Northwestern University study, people age 24 to 32 unable to pay off their debts developed heart diseases.
They are suffering from higher blood pressure, which can cause a stroke. This shows how vital debt is as a health issue in our society.
You can experience sleep deprivation
Insomnia, or the difficulty to fall asleep, is a common symptom of overwhelming debt.
When you continually worry about money, it might be challenging to get a decent night’s sleep.
Worry, stress, anxiety and sadness can trigger insomnia. Sleep deprivation may increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
It can weaken your immune system
Chronic stress from financial worries might lead to a compromised immune system.
It can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, viruses, and infections.
It increases pains and aches
Long-term stress and worry about debt can result in bodily symptoms such as migraines, stiff muscles, and back discomfort.
People who were in a lot of debt experienced a lot of headaches and migraines, according to studies.
You can experience stress in relationships
Your lifestyle suffers because of heavy debts. You’re also stressed out since you have to worry about making payments on your bills all the time.
This makes you irritable, and it impacts your health and your relationships with family members. Increasing debt has been linked to emotional anguish, sadness, rage, and even suicide. When you’re under a lot of stress, you’re more likely to become angry and create an uncomfortable situation for your loved ones. It has the potential to have profound health implications that will affect you for many years to come.
Is it possible to get back to your normal health?
The most challenging part of dealing with these mental health problems is resisting the urge to do nothing. It’s easy to bury your head in the sand when you’re burdened with debt. But it is possible for you to get back to your normal physical and mental health. You just need to take action to overcome the debt-related stress in life.
It is never too late to get out of debt, even if you feel there’s no way out. But that is never the case. Getting out of debt is possible. Discovering ways to get out of debt is the most effective treatment for curing your debt-related mental health issues. Taking action and small wins can help you regain your optimism. Asking for help and admitting you have a problem isn’t easy. But you must respond quickly and seek help to break the debt stress.
Steps to get out of debt to get back healthy financial life
To improve your mental health, you don’t have to pay off all your debts immediately.
You can start your debt-free journey by taking a few simple steps. What’s the best way to get started? Here you go:
You are not alone in this debt journey
Remember, you aren’t the only one who feels this way. The first thing to do if your debt stresses you out, whether it’s credit card debt, student loan debt, your mortgage payment, or whatever the issue is — is to take a step back and take a deep breath and realize you don’t have to go through this alone. You can get help out there. Also, many people outside are coping with debt and emotional trouble. It will help if you change your mindset regarding debt. Accept that debt is not a demon. You can fight back. So, find help and try to get out of it.
Organize your debt
You probably have no idea how much debt you have when you’re drowning in anxiety.
Get a clear picture of your debt accounts, including how much you owe and the minimum payments you must make.
Create a budget and stick to it
Any debt repayment strategy must include a budget. You are in control of your finances when you follow a budget. It gives you a sense of knowledge about your money. You can understand where your money is going and how much money you need to achieve a goal. You can have a sense of control over your finances and aspirations, which gives you a sense of liberation.
Set achievable goals
Don’t set ambitions you won’t be able to achieve. If you can’t control your shopping addiction, then don’t try hard. Set an amount and spend it. Also, don’t think you will repay your largest credit card in three months. Instead, target the smallest debt and pay it off first.
Share your feelings
Having someone to hold you accountable will help you get out of debt faster.
Talking to your loved ones about your debt and your aspirations can help you overcome the stigma.
Consolidate your debt
If you have credit card debt, you can consolidate them. Try to take out a consolidation loan at a low interest rate to pay off all the unsecured debts. You can also hire individuals to do the negotiations for you, as long as you check their references and evaluate them first.
Get assistance from an expert
Professional assistance can help you in getting out of debt. A debt counselor can help you find the tools and resources you need to succeed. You can start with free debt relief consultation. You will know which debt repayment method is best for you.
When you use these methods, you’ll notice that your mental health improves gradually.
Following a realistic debt payoff plan can help you reach a good position for the future.
Once you pay off debt, you will feel good about yourself because you’ve made significant progress.
What should you do if you don’t want to do anything?
From time to time, we all experience low moods. It’s easy to feel stuck if you’re feeling this way as if you can’t modify or improve your position. Being able to recognize when you’re depressed and how it could affect your financial decisions is a valuable skill in and of itself.
If you’re constantly feeling down and it’s starting to disrupt your daily life, you should consult your doctor.
When it comes to money, the sooner you start addressing the issue, the easier it will be to regain control.
However, finding the strength to deal with financial concerns can appear impossible at times for some people.
How can you assist someone with financial management?
If you know someone in mental agony due to financial issues, you should help the person.
The person can be a friend or a family member.
You’ll be able to identify changes in behavior, sometimes even before the problem occurs, that may serve as warning signs. You may establish an action plan together, such as looking after the credit card or bill payments when the person is sick or assisting in scheduling a doctor’s appointment.
Many consumers’ spending is expanding exponentially, even while incomes stay stagnant for some and credit and borrowing become more accessible.
This has created a perfect storm in many people’s lives, and there looks to be significant emotional damage.
The financial devastation caused by the global pandemic in 2020 has only added to this.
If debt is the primary cause of your bad physical and mental health, the best course is to change your financial habits. If you consistently skip bill payments, ignore collection calls, or cannot set aside funds for unexpected needs, it’s time to reconsider your strategy. Don’t put a strain on your mind and body. Avoid living paycheck to paycheck and start saving for retirement.
However, more emphasis should be paid to the psychological toll of unsecured debt and how it impacts one’s function and society as a whole.