Over half (51%) of Millennials, a cohort comprising more than a quarter of the US population, say their financial situation stresses them out (Mintel).
If it is not their primary source of stress, it is often a source of daily anxiety. The issue has become bad enough that it is beginning to affect the physical health of many US adults (Varo).
But Millennials are not the only ones to experience financial worries or the resulting side effects.
Over two-thirds (75%) of visits to primary care doctors are stress-related.
Increases in financially-related stress levels are causing deteriorating health across generations. Resulting problems include:
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Heart disease
- Other physical aches and pains
Those with unstable finances often experience higher levels of physical pain, according to a study published in Psychological Science. Constant exposure can even lead to deterioration of cognitive control and abstract thinking, make it more challenging to think clearly when presented with everyday decisions (Science).
A change in financial situation is the best permanent remedy for dealing with financial stress. However, there are ways to help mitigate some of the health detriments while seeking to eliminate the primary stressor. Here are five ways to safeguard your health.
- Exercise – It seems cliché. Everyone tells you to get some exercise. But physical exertion for a minimum of 30 minutes will trigger the release of endorphins. This chemical is a natural way to lower blood pressure, combat the symptoms of depression, and generally feel good. Most doctors will recommend exercise three to four times per week.
- Laughter – If you are looking for even more endorphins, try listening to some comedy. Maybe watch a funny movie. Hang out with that friend who always makes you chuckle. Laughing not only increases your endorphin levels, it actively lowers your body’s stress hormones.
Many people deal with stress through unhealthy coping mechanisms...
- Healthy Diet – Before you let out an even bigger groan, this is not about switching to the rabbit food. Many people deal with stress through unhealthy coping mechanisms such as over-eating, making drastically unhealthy food choices, or not eating at all (Everyday Health). In times of stress, it may be better to limit access to junk foods or take a few minutes each week to create a meal plan.
- Meditation – You’re not Buddha. You might not even think you have time. But try setting aside two minutes to simply sit and exist. It doesn’t count if you are doing something else (looking at you, toilet users). A few minutes a day of only that can help lower blood pressure and calm some of the anxiety. See more on (very) basic meditation here.
- Make and Follow a Budget – I KNOW it’s hard. But no one gets out of a frustrating financial situation without a plan. Only 41% of US adults follow a budget. That number is even less for Millennials, at a mere 38%. Getting a handle on your household cash-flow not only takes the guesswork of when and how you can pay your bills, but it also helps you prioritize the things in your life which are costing you money. Discover some tips to get you started on your budget here.
Financial stress has physical consequences. If you are one of the millions of Americans feeling the twinges of anxiety, these tips can help mitigate some of the long-term issues. For extreme physical stress or financial concern, do not be afraid to reach out for help to friends, family, or certified professionals.