Money makes the world go round (so they say), but what about when it stresses us out so much we can’t sleep at night, eat properly, and live a normal life?
Money is undoubtedly one of the biggest causes of our stress, but before you say it’s because you don’t have any, it’s a fact that millionaires worry about money just as much as somebody working hard to get by.
Whatever financial situation we’re in, we’ll always find something to stress about when it comes to money.
Let’s have a look at 3 reasons why money will stress you out, and what you can do to ease the worry.
When you’re in debt (like most of us are), you not only have a financial responsibility and obligation to pay it back, you have an emotional attachment and commitment. The more emotional attachments and commitments we have, the more stressed we tend to be. It’s because they sit on our minds and mount up like a pile of paperwork. The higher the stack, the more pressure we’re under. If you want to own a house or car, debt is usually unavoidable, so the answer isn’t to avoid it – the answer is to deal with the emotional attachment debt creates. You have to accept the fact that whatever debt you have, it will form part of your mindset, and be part of you. If that’s a struggle for you, and you’re lucky enough to be in a position where you have little debt, it would be best to keep it as limited as possible. If your debt is already spiralling, limit your spending, and if you need to, speak to financial professionals that can help you manage your debt. There are plenty of options to help including charities like the National Debtline.
2. You’re afraid you won’t keep up with the Joneses
Your neighbour has just bought a shiny new car, and the neighbour on the other side of you is also planning a purchase. Your car is now over five years old. How will it look in the middle of two shiny new cars? A very materialistic view, I know, but we’re all guilty of it. Most of us are so concerned about keeping up with the Joneses we forget about what’s really important – being happy! Who cares if your neighbours have newer cars than you do, or your friend has just bought a bigger house than you own? When it comes down to it, these things are insignificant, and will only add to your stress and anxiety if you let them. It’s your happiness that really counts. Focus on yourself and your own wellbeing, not the Joneses.
3. You’re scared of losing money
There will always be a fear attached to money, in one form or another, and losing money is way up there. As I mentioned above, millionaires are just as likely to worry about money as anybody else. Even though they have great wealth, they fear losing the money they have, and it’s this fear that keeps them working 80hr weeks. Millionaire or not, none of us enjoy losing money (if you do, I would suggest you have a problem), but it’s likely to happen to us all at some stage. An investment might go wrong, something depreciates in value rather than goes up, John doesn’t give you the £50 back he owes you, or the housing market crashes. The balance in life dictates that these things will happen, and it’s the savvy ones that understand this and compensate for it that deal with the stress and anxiety money creates the best.
A: Losing weight (and gaining weight) is a very common symptom of anxiety. I personally lost over a stone in four weeks, because, like you, I struggled to eat due to stress and anxiety.
Let's focus on what’s important: getting you eating again. Forget about your weight for now - the only thing that matters is getting you back to a place where you want to eat again. When you’re at this stage, you’ll naturally get back to a comfortable weight.
It’s important to get you eating again because food is fuel, and fuel is energy. You can’t do anything without energy, and even the healthiest of mind will struggle to cope with anxiety and stress if energy levels are too low. The only way to get your energy levels back up to where they need to be is by eating properly, which will give your mind and body the fuel it needs to deal with your excessive stress and anxiety.
I know at times, particularly when you feel sick, anxious, and depressed, eating is probably the last thing you want to do, so I have a solution for you: Protein Shakes.
When I couldn’t stomach food, or even look at it due to feeling anxious and depressed, I stopped my weight loss and increased my energy by drinking protein shakes. They’re not just made for vein-popping weightlifters – it’s a big market, and some are made as diet supplements / replacements.
It’s not a long-term solution, and eating should always be your goal. If you can eat anything, you should eat fruit and vegetables (because there isn’t any substitute for them). If you’re really struggling to eat, protein shakes will help give you the boost of energy you need to get you back to the stage where you want to eat again and give you the fuel you need to overcome your anxiety.
Action for Change
Go online / to your local supermarket and look for protein shakes designed as meal replacement / supplements. Find a flavour you like and have a protein shake at times in the day you normally eat (breakfast / lunch / dinner). If you can stomach any food make sure it’s fresh and healthy, including fruit and vegetables.
Remember: this is only a very short-term option, and you should only use protein shakes to get you through the very low periods (when you can’t stomach or look at food).
Given a little time, when your energy levels are up (which will naturally boost your mood), you will start eating properly again. And when you start eating properly again, you’ll be ready to face and overcome your high anxiety.
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