MANAGING FINANCIAL STRESS
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

Sources of Financial Stress

We all need to get better at managing financial stress. So many conditions lead to mild or severe money troubles and for many of us, it is more than we can handle.

These situations include:

  • When expenses exceed income and living off debt;
  • Living paycheck to paycheck;
  • Having no savings or safety net;
  • Erratic behavior in the stock market;
  • Keeping poor financial records;
  • Not having a retirement or succession plan in your life or business;
  • Not staying on top of your taxes each year;
  • Having multiple loans, credit cards & lines of credit with maxed out balances;
  • Having complicated finances with too many unorganized accounts at multiple institutions; and
  • Thinking more income is always the solution, but just increasing expenses as income rises.

Regardless of what is causing you financial stress, you have a choice to make it worse or make it better through you methods for managing financial stress. Being stressed or not because of financial issues is well within your control.

HOW MANAGING FINANCIAL STRESS POORLY
CAN REALLY MESS UP YOUR LIFE

  • Allowing repeated amygdala hijacks

It’s easy to allow the amygdalae organs in your brain to run wild, creating anxiety all over the place. When exposed to a stressor (threat or danger), these small, but powerful, organs, perform an important function in your stress response system, but they can quickly overpower your whole body. The untrained emotional part of your brain can easily overpower the rational, thinking part of your brain making managing financial stress almost impossible. When it comes to financial stress, this can be a destructive force.

  • Brooding and focusing on negatives

As human beings who tend to focus on the negatives before the positives, we can really get into a rut where we brood about financial problems. If we become preoccupied with depressing, morbid, painful memories and thoughts, it can become quite impossible to get onto a problem solving track.

  • Obsessing about being in control

Sometimes, we can delude ourselves into believing we have control or that we can easily regain control of problematic financial situations or events. However, some things need to be given up to a higher power or to the universe because they are well beyond our real control. Sometimes managing financial stress can be one of those things.

  • Taking crazy financial risks

Many people are not aware of their own risk tolerance levels. By taking crazy uncontrolled risks, it is easy to get in over our heads. Some risks are good and some are bad, but without a strong risk management system, financial stress is often made much worse.

  • Bad news

Continually exposing yourself to all the bad news in the world related to a stressed financial situation such as stock market crashes or rising inflation rates can skyrocket a person’s stress level. Scary reports and information and all over the news and the Internet and all this bad news can be counter-productive in managing financial stress.

  • Being reactive

So many people in the stock market behave in a reactive fashion; the same is true when it comes to dealing with debt collectors and paying off debt. In the stock market, reactive people sell when everyone’s selling and buy when everyone is buying; they buy high and sell low. In doing so, they insure they will repeatedly fail. By avoiding debt collectors, reactive people create an unnecessary, but stressful situation.

  • Endless busyness

Some people are impatient when it comes to financial decision making. They feel that they always have to be spending money. Having a shopaholic attitude whether in the stock market or at the local mall can create endless problems with managing financial stress.

  • Dwelling on the past or exaggerating the future

Dwelling on past failures and exaggerating about possible future failures that haven’t even happened yet creates unnecessary and unhelpful stress. Too many people miss out on the power of living in the present and capitalizing on real opportunities that are happening now.

HOW PROPERLY MANAGING FINANCIAL STRESS CAN PUT YOU BACK IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT OF YOUR LIFE

  • Preventing amygdala hijacks

The Amygdalae organs are the first to respond to a stressor when it happens. You have a split second before the Amygdalae launches a response in your HPA axis and causes a flood of Adrenaline and Cortisol in your body, causing the normal fight, flight or freeze response. In managing financial stress, it is far better to activate the prefrontal cortex of the brain where your rational thought processes come alive. In doing so, you will be able to withstand financial stress. It is well-worth the time it takes to train and develop the executive functioning processes in the front of your brain so that you are not victimized by your own stress response system all the time, especially when it come to financial stress.

  • Focusing on positives

Human beings can choose to focus on positives. In doing so, we set ourselves up for success. Positive affirmations can go a long way to changing our mood making problem solving easier.

  • Letting go of control

Some financial problems can’t be controlled and by letting go of perceived control, we can significantly reduce stress levels, which then fees us up to be better problem solvers. When managing financial stress, we are also better able to use creative and critical thinking skills and to see the bigger picture of the problem.

  • Managing financial risk effectively

Effective risk management is about planning. When it comes to managing financial stress, first, we must try to identify what the risks are with our financial decisions and we must come up with plausible solutions to those risks. For example, if the interest rate on your loan or mortgage goes up, can you afford it? How will you adjust expenses or increase income to handle the additional costs of maintaining the debt. Before you take the financial risk, you need a plan for dealing with the risks that arise.

  • Leveraging good news

Just because you can read the news and listen to the radio doesn’t mean you should. The law of attraction states that what you put out to the universe will come back to multiple times over. The same is likely true with bad news. If you constantly drown yourself in bad news, you may suffer the same fate. It is a far better idea to expose yourself to good news and positive scenarios as much as possible so that you can replicate the great outcomes in your own life.

  • Being pro-active

Being pro-active is a much better way to approach life in terms of managing financial stress than reactivity. The definition of good luck is when opportunity meets preparation. If you spend your life getting prepared and connecting yourself to the right people and situations, then you will find yourself running into opportunity and good luck all over the place. Instead of living life in a crisis-oriented way and spending all your time putting out fires, you can achieve much better results with a little planning and forethought.

  • Taking time to relax and breathe

In our lives, we are surrounded by sounds, lights, rapidly changing imagery and information overload. In addition, schedules are filled to the brim with multiple jobs, schooling, events and activities. The tendency is to bring a sense of busyness to everything we do and many of us feel quite impotent if we are not busy. It seems we feel we must live life in overdrive or we are failures. Nothing could be less true when it comes to managing financial stress. Finding a low cost, no cost hobby or recreational pursuit that allows you to be still or be far less busy is a key way to end financial stress. We need to take the time to breathe and fully oxygenate the blood in order to improve life in general as well as our financial situation.

  • Re-framing the past and future and changing your language

Re-framing your thinking and changing your language regarding how you perceive your past and future can change your financial life for the better. Instead of seeing yourself as a failure, to be good at managing financial stress, you need to re-frame your experiences as opportunities for learning. We must remember that mistakes are never a problem unless you failed to learn something from the situation. Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb said, “I have not failed 10,000 times, I have successfully found 10,000 ways that do not work.” He kept trying and eventually succeeded and so can you.

Managing Financial Stress
The Big Picture

Overall, it is critically important to do regular maintenance on your stress response system using tools such as EFT or Bach Flower Remedies. To be a star at coping with stress, you must start training your emotions to take a back seat to the thought centres in your brain. In this way you will do a much better job of managing financial stress and you will regain your future.

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