Worrying about money can affect you in more ways than you think. Financial stress is linked to a greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, ulcers, sleep disorders and depression, according to a recent study published by the American Psychological Association. Financial concerns are literally making us sick, and many people don’t realize its impact or how it happens.
How does stress impact your health?
When you’re under stress, it has immediate short-term effects on your body, and you go into fight-or-flight mode. Stress causes the release of cortisol, which has many negative effects, including:
- Increased heart rate
- Higher blood pressure
- Faster breathing
- Reduction in metabolism
Any one of these health conditions or symptoms can stem from stress and also lead to more stress. According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, financial concerns are Americans’ top cause of stress.
Stress management is key
Financial stress can be a heavy burden, with long-term health effects. Managing it requires not just sound money management but also successful stress management.
For anyone experiencing severe psychological distress, a counselor can help deal with stress on an ongoing basis. But one of the most effective ways to manage stress is to exercise.
“You should exercise three to four times a week for at least 30 minutes,” said Tom Spring, HAP’s director of Wellness and Community Outreach. “Exercise releases brain chemicals called endorphins, which makes you feel good. It can also lower your blood pressure and reduce the symptoms of depression. Just be sure to check with your doctor before you start any kind of exercise program.”
Research also indicates people avoid healthy behaviors when under significant financial stress, but healthy activity could mitigate the effects of the pressure. There are several other ways to help you better manage stress, including:
- Deep breathing
- Maintaining a healthy diet
We’ve partnered with GreenPath Financial Wellness to increase the fiscal fitness of HAP employees and people covered by HAP insurance through their employer.
“We know very well how financial concerns can affect people’s overall health,” explained Tom Spring, HAP’s director of Wellness and Community Outreach. “So, we wanted to partner with a strong financial resource to reduce those concerns. By being proactive and addressing money management issues in advance, we can help people avoid potential long- and short-term health problems.”
Here are just a few of the many topics covered in HAP Financial Fitness:
- Saving to achieve your goals
- Credit reports and scores
- Preparing to buy a home