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By Jennifer Roche | with thanks to Tesco Health and Wellbeing

 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

 

At this time of year, many of us are counting the cost of Christmas and dreading the arrival of the January bills. Worrying about money can cause stress and anxiety which can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. Are you worried about money? Then read on and find out how to worry less and take control.

How worrying about money affects our health

The most common symptom of worrying about money is lack of sleep. If you are not getting enough sleep because you are lying awake worrying, this can lead to irritability, lack of productivity and inability to concentrate. Physically, continuous lack of sleep can also contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and can impact on your immune system, leading to illness. Other symptoms of worrying about money are mental stress, anxiety, depression and emotional distress which, in extreme cases, can lead to suicide.

Worrying is a perfectly normal emotion and we all worry from time to time. However, constant worry can drive us to depression and despair if it goes unchecked. If worrying about money is taking over your life then it’s time to deal with the problem. Here are some tips to help you stop worrying and start living.

Reduce stress: Working to actively reduce stress will help you stop worrying about money and will empower you to actively deal with the source of the problem in a calm and pragmatic way. Exercise is an ideal stress-buster and will help you to sleep more soundly. Meditation is another good way to reduce stress and calm those racing thoughts.

Don’t live in denial: Burying your head in the sand and ignoring the bills or letters from the bank isn’t going to make the problem go away. If you are worrying about money don’t hide from the problem. You need to know exactly where you stand in order to do something about it.

 

Face your fears: You may be worried about getting in touch with banks or companies you owe money to. It’s always better to engage with them at an early point in the proceedings as they will be more willing to negotiate a way that works for both of you. Don’t wait until they are about to take you to court or repossess your belongings.

Seek advice: If you are in debt then the best thing to do is seek advice. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Money Advice Service can usually help. Talking to a professional who can advise and guide you will help you find your way out of the financial quagmire.

Don’t bottle it up: Keeping your problems to yourself won’t solve them and can have a negative effect on your health and wellbeing. If you are worrying about money then speak to somebody about it. Talk to your partner or family and, working together, you can find a way to deal with the problem. If you can’t talk to those close to you then try a counselling service or the Samaritans. Remember, a trouble shared is a trouble halved.

Switch off: If you watch the news daily or read a daily newspaper, it’s very easy to get dragged down by the constant negative reporting about the economy, which can lead to worry about how it will affect you. If it’s getting in on you, take a step back. Watch a sitcom instead of the news and escape into a book instead of reading the paper for a while. It will help you to stop worrying too much.

Track your spending: Just like tracking food in your Food Diary, tracking your spending will help you to see exactly where your money is going. Keep all your receipts for a month, go through your credit card statement with a fine tooth comb. This will help you to identify where savings can be made and where you can trim any financial ‘dead wood’.

Budget: Once you know your incomings and outgoings, set yourself a monthly budget and keep to it. By using the Food Diary and Shopping list, you can plan meals and see how much your food budget will cost. Buying online with Click To Buy will let you see exactly how much your shopping is going to cost before purchase. If over budget, you can cross off any superfluous items without getting stung at the checkout.

Shop around: Always look for the best deal when making a purchase. Whether renewing your health insurance, renewing your phone contract or buying a costly item like a TV or car, always shop around for the best deal and don’t be afraid to ask for a discount, it can sometimes pay off. You can even shop around for a better bank. Check out your bank’s fees and your credit card’s interest rates. If you can find a better one and you can transfer over, you’re making a saving straight away.

Pay down your debts: Has your credit card spiralled out of control? If you are just paying the minimum amount off your card every month, you will end up paying a fortune in interest before you ever clear it. Take a look at your budget, see how much you can afford to pay off it every week/month and keep chipping away. It may mean a few lean months but you will save a huge amount in the long run. Set a time at which you intend to be ‘debt free’ and keep to it. If you have a number of credit or store cards, pay off the one with the highest interest rate first.

Save for a rainy day: If you can afford to, it’s usually a good idea to put a little away every week/month in case of emergencies. That way, if a big expense suddenly falls on you, it won’t have such a large impact on your budget. In these uncertain times, many fear job loss, illness or disability so if you can, try and put enough away to cover you for a few months should anything go wrong.

Stop worrying and start living

They say that money is the root of all evil. It can certainly seem that way if it’s causing you stress and anxiety. However, it’s a necessary evil which we all need to live with so don’t let it consume you. Remember that the best things in life are free so take time out to enjoy them.

 

Worried About Money? How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

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