How Debt Can Affect Your Physical Health
Anyone who’s ever lived with heavy debt knows it’s more than just a money problem. Financial obligations can intrude into other areas of your life as well. This is especially true for people dealing with thousands of dollars in bills.
How debt can affect your health
If you’ve ever found yourself lying awake at night thinking about them or felt your stomach drop when an unknown number — likely a debt collector — calls your cell, you’ve already experienced some of the negative mental effects of debt.
However, what many people don’t know is debt can start to affect your physical health, too. Here’s how.
How Debt Affects Mental & Physical Health
The mind-body connection is undeniable — which is where debt can encroach on both your mental and physical health.
Here’s one example: According to the Motley Fool, 38 percent of people carrying debt report owing money has affected their ability to sleep soundly. In addition to causing unpleasant daytime drowsiness, lack of quality sleep can have other ill effects.
Chronic sleep loss can increase the risk of heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. It also inhibits the ability to think clearly, solve problems and retain important information.
The American Psychological Association published a Stress in America survey, which found money to be the leading stressor in Americans’ lives — beating out work, family responsibilities and health concerns.
According to this report, those who experience the highest levels of money-related stress are also more likely to say they take part in “unhealthy behaviors” to mitigate that stress. These coping behaviors —such as excessive drinking for example — can also affect physical health for the worse.
All in all, chronic stress can negatively affect bodily systems and cause people to engage in unhealthy forms of escapism.
Tips for Reducing & Eliminating Debt
There’s no easy way to waltz out of debt, but there are measures you can take to start chipping away at it — or get a plan for eliminating it altogether.
Revisiting your budget is the first step. Many people have negative associations with budgeting, viewing it as restrictive or downright boring. But with the tools available today, it can be as simple as using an expense tracking app to understand spending habits and identify opportunities to reroute funds toward tackling debts.
It’s also wise to explore your options for debt relief at this point, especially if traditional debt repayment will take forever, or leave you short of your goal.
These Freedom Debt Relief reviews illustrate how some consumers who decided to pursue debt settlement — which hinges on negotiating with creditors to reduce the balance due — did so because they were experiencing the negative effects of financial stress in their lives.
In addition to settlement, it’s worth exploring debt consolidation loans and debt management plans as potential solutions. Which one you choose, if any, will depend on your circumstances — how much you owe, to whom and in what form.
Examining your habits related to spending and saving is helpful as well. Ask yourself, “What changes can I make to lessen my debt-related stress?”
For instance, someone who has maxed out credit cards online shopping in the past could break down their triggers — like boredom. They could also delete their payment information from online shopping sites to make it more difficult to purchase goods.
Sometimes relatively small tweaks can help us realign our actions with our financial priorities, which in turn helps us work toward becoming debt free.
Debt can absolutely start to affect your mental and physical health, which is why it’s important to get a handle on it as soon as possible.