9 Ways to Deal with Financial Stress

financial stress

Do you feel good about the current state of your personal finances or do you feel stressed out about your financial situation?

According to a recent study done by KRC Research:

“Most Americans are not comfortable with the current state of their personal finances, including saving for education and retirement.

Overall, about half (52%) of American adults say they are at least somewhat worried about their personal financial situation and almost one in three (27%) would rate their concern as being very worried.”

At this point in my life I fit into the group of the 27% of people that are very worried about their finances.

The last 3 years have been very difficult in regard to my financial life and I have noticed that it has caused a ripple effect in the rest of my life.

By that I mean that my self-worth and self-esteem have diminished to the point where some days I feel lost and useless. But I am always looking for ways to deal with this stress and to make my life better as I dig my way out of this mess, and I wanted to share some things that have helped me get through the last few years.

If you too are worried about your finances here are some ways to deal with financial stress.

Keep your finger on the pulse of your cash flow.

Make sure you know exactly how much money is coming in every month, and exactly how much money is going out. As tempting as it might be to put your head in the sand, you simply cannot afford to. If you stay informed, you will make better decisions.

Exercise your discipline muscle.

Make conscious choices so that your dollars stretch as far as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to skimp; it just means you have to make wise decisions.

Take a close look at your expenses and make sure the money you spend is giving you a lasting return.

Stay healthy.

This is no time to let your nutrition or exercise fall by the wayside! If you do, you diminish your capacity to turn your finances around.

So make sure you get enough sleep every night, take your vitamins, and keep your body moving.

These simple self-care rituals keep your personal foundation strong. If you do need to cut back on some personal care luxuries, replace them with an inexpensive alternative.

For example instead of a personal trainer, you could workout with a friend.

Take bold, inspired action.

If you’ve always wanted to approach a specific client or strike out in a new industry, now is the time.

No matter what the results are, bold action has a way of increasing our confidence, reminding us to risk and stretch beyond our comfort zones. Being proactive is empowering!

Keep yourself emotionally grounded.

If you find yourself thinking about how bad things are – or, worse yet, how bad they might get – get a hold of yourself.

As they say, “Don’t go there!” Remember, what we focus on is what we experience and create more of.

If you feel yourself dropping into a whirlwind of emotion, call a friend and borrow some sanity.

Stay connected to your source.

Whether that means your higher power or your own inner wisdom. This is one of the best ways to cope with financial stress.

What rituals or habits help you feel peaceful and connected? It might be prayer or meditation, journaling, or long walks in nature…whatever helps you remember that you are a naturally resourceful and creative person in an abundant world.

Perspective is everything.

feel stressedWhen people get stressed, they get tunnel vision. Our thoughts get caught in a loop, and we have trouble seeing any alternatives.

In times like these, the worst place you can be is stuck in your own head.

Try to step back and see the big picture. Your finances may be troubling, but if you have a roof over your head and food in the pantry, you’re still doing better than 90% of the rest of the world.

Don’t give up the things that you enjoy.

These parts of life are what refill your internal gas tank and keep you moving forward.

It’s the times when comfort and inspiration are so scarce that we have to comfort and inspire ourselves.

You could watch a fun movie, or invite your buddies over to watch a hockey game, have some friends over for a pot-luck dinner party, go to the park for a nice walk, go for a bike ride, read a good book, or bake some cookies.

Obviously the point is to keep yourself busy doing things you enjoy instead of constantly worrying about money.

Reach out for support.

People are often reluctant or ashamed to admit how stuck they feel, but a secret burden is so much harder to carry. It doesn’t matter whether you call a friend or a financial advisor, a psychologist or a coach, just call someone you can be completely honest with. Sometimes it pays to be vulnerable. 


    • Money Beagle

      Money Beagle 09/10/2012 6:02 a.m. #

      Stepping back and seeing the big picture is a huge one that I think many people forget. I'll often get frustrated by something or think I'm falling behind, then see that my net worth has increased 15% over a 12-month period. This means that maybe one facet needs tweaking, but overall I'm headed in the right direction, and this calms me down. Of course not so much back in 2008-09 when it was going straight down, but it's since corrected course :)

    • Stephanie @ Empowered Dollar

      Stephanie @ Empowered Dollar 09/10/2012 6:56 a.m. #

      When I've felt financially stressed, reaching out to someone has been the biggest help. It's difficult and humbling, but it'll make you feel better in the long run.

    • mrsplungedindebt

      mrsplungedindebt 09/10/2012 7:46 a.m. #

      Great post! I think a lot of people, including myself can relate it. I was bad for putting my head in the sand and be near panic attack at the end of the month trying to play catch up. It sucks to face the music sometimes but needs to be done!

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 09/10/2012 10:38 a.m. #

      @Money Beagle - I agree the big picture is important especially when we get ourselves so worried about our finances.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 09/10/2012 10:40 a.m. #

      @Stephanie - Reaching out to someone else is hard, but it can make all the difference in the world. The big thing is finding someone you can trust that is not going to pass judgement on your situation and simply make you feel worse than you already do.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 09/10/2012 10:48 a.m. #

      @mrsplungedindebt - Thank you! I read your blog yesterday about your debt from student loans and such and I imagine that we are dealing with similar issues. For over 2 years I put my head in the sand too. Although my husband and I knew our debt was a huge problem, it wasn't until this past Christmas that we actually decided to face it head on. Prior to that I just spent a ton of time worrying about it, as I mentioned in the post.

    • Budget & the Beach

      Budget & the Beach 09/10/2012 4:21 p.m. #

      All very good tips! I try to pretend frugality is also some kind of game. Makes it a tiny bit more fun that way. :)

    • Kim@Eyesonthedollar

      Kim@Eyesonthedollar 09/10/2012 8:56 p.m. #

      We tried the head in the sand thing. It just doesn't work. Putting it out in the open is the hardest step, but makes stress easier to deal with if you are being proactive.

    • AverageJoe

      AverageJoe 09/12/2012 8:45 a.m. #

      I have a screen saver that says "Focus Out." Whenever I walk away from my keyboard it pops on. Whenever I think about gossip, inner feelings, blog stats, or the "echo chamber" of my job, I begin to lose track of the big picture. When I think about readers, staying in charge of my destiny and being a captain of my financial ship than I begin to blossom again.

    • Adam Buller

      Adam Buller 09/13/2012 12:28 p.m. #

      My parents have always helped me to snap out of things when I've been feeling the strain financially or just in general.

      They always said that the best way to help yourself feel better about your situation is to help others. It's always worked upto now. Great Post!

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 09/13/2012 2:20 p.m. #

      @Adam - Your parents sound very wise and are quite supportive, which is extremely helpful, especially during difficult situations.

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