The Effects of Financial Stress On Your Physical Health

Money may not buy happiness, but studies have shown that your relationship with it can impact your health. There’s a strong correlation between how much money you have, how you spend your money and whether you have enough to cover your bills. Working towards paying your bills is such a huge part of your life and how much you have left over has a major impact on your health.

First, look at the cost of unhealthy habits. If you’re smoking in a major city, think about eliminating a $15 a day smoking or junk food habit. If you kick that bad habit, it could save you $3,650 annually, plus interest.

While stress is a part of life, we can try to minimize it and the effects on our body. Research has demonstrated a clear correlation between stress about money and poor physical and psychological health. 

Unhealthy habits that can potentially come from financial stress:

  • Struggling financially can lead to chronic stress, which can hurt your health in the long and short term. A raise in your blood pressure can be caused by stress due to the adrenal glands producing too much adrenaline, according to Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.  Stress can also cause digestive issues, tension headaches, pain in the body, increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and more. 

  • Having enough high-quality sleep is necessary to be successful in everyday life. Dealing with financial struggles can throw off your sleep schedule. Lack of sleep not only affects your day to day life but may cause you to make decisions that you normally wouldn’t make if you had gotten a good night of sleep. 

  • Stress eating is a thing, we’ve all heard of that - right? Long-term stress — including anxiety about money — can trigger a bump in cortisol, which increases appetite. Marcus by Goldman Sachs goes on to say that, not only increasing appetite, stress can also affect food preferences, prompting people to increase their intake of fatty and sugary treats. Indulging in comfort foods regularly can, in turn, lead to weight gain and health problems such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, creating a vicious cycle.

  • In addition to physical problems, financial stress can take a toll on your mental health, potentially impacting your mood and cognitive function. “Financial challenges negatively impact mental health by causing … negative emotions like sadness and anger and feelings of guilt and unworthiness,” says licensed psychologist and entrepreneurial coach Ashley Hampton.

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