We have become a money-obsessed culture. We worry about how to make it, keep it, spend it wisely, invest it…and most of all, not lose it. Our economy is facing some turbulence at the moment, which means no end of stress for many people. With all this additional stress it is imperative to find healthy ways to stay sane and keep our calm.

Stress is not necessarily bad, until it starts taking a toll on your mental or physical well-being. We all need a little stress here and there to keep us on our tiptoes and aware of what’s happening around us. However, there is a thin line between a “healthy” dose of pressure and stress that becomes too much to handle, thereby negatively affecting our overall well-being.

In an interview with the American Psychological Association, psychologist and researcher Linda Gallo, PhD, talks about how stress from finances and other sources can affect your health. Gallo noticed that when you don’t dedicate time to recover from stress, it usually manifests in minor physical problems such as headaches, stomach aches or mental issues like anxiety and trouble sleeping. If the stress is not adequately managed or dealt with, your body could fall into a chronic physical condition ranging from heart disease, diabetes to many other illnesses. Most people are not aware of the physical effects that stress actually has on the body. Severe stress can affect our immune system and make us more vulnerable to acute viral illnesses, such as colds and flues.

Gallo recommends that if someone is experiencing a lot of stress, they should try to seek help to get it under control. This help can be in the form of sessions with a psychologist with whom to discuss the issue and help find ways to control stress, or regular exercise to help reduce stress or setting aside personal time for relaxing activities that calm you.

To avoid excess anger, stress and depression, it is very important to deal with your stress in a healthy way, and not let financial matters affect your well-being or get the best of you.

  • Stay away from unhealthy stressful activities – In times of trouble, some people take up smoking, indulge in emotional eating, or other habits such as nail biting as a way to relieve their stress. It’s important to avoid falling into these or any other  unhealthy behavioral patterns, and find healthier and more sustainable stress management techniques. Stress balls can be used whenever you’re starting to feel under pressure by squeezing it with your fingers to relieve stress and muscle tension .
  • Take time away for yourself everyday – Find something you love to do and set aside the time for it. This should be something that relaxes you, such as a massage, an old or new hobby, painting, meditation or whatever eases your mind, and dedicate the time to do it every day. Or do nothing at all, but make sure you get your own personal time everyday to clear your mind and do whatever makes you feel happy and stress-free. Since you’re dealing with financial stress, it would really help if the thing you loved doing does not involve a huge amount of money.
  • Exercise regularly – Any form of exercise will help reduce stress and is good for your physical health as well, as exercise releases a chemical called endorphin, which triggers a positive feeling in the body. Just walking for 30 minutes a day is enough to help you clear your mind and keep stress at bay. Yoga is also known to relax and focus the mind through meditation, thereby reducing the mental focus on outside stress. There’s no need to join a fancy gym or go to expensive classes. You can simply take a walk outside or find online exercise videos to watch and exercise to.
  • Seek support– Support can help you keep your sanity when you’re facing financial stress. Often talking about your problems in a structured environment such as social support groups or therapy sessions with a mental health care professional can help manage your stress through human connection and communication. It can also provide you with a different perspective and a more positive outlook on your problems, because by getting it out of your system you are sharing your burden with others and being more proactive in managing your stress and getting to the root of your problems.