American national debt is growing by the second, and this is only adding to the myriad of problems the government is facing at the moment. When you look at the debt figure, you wonder how we are going to get ourselves out of this hell hole that we have dug ourselves into, like your personal financial problems are not driving you crazy right now. With all this, it is no wonder the stress levels are at all-time high, and this has brought health complications that are costing the federal government billions of dollars, funds that have been used in other critical areas of the economy where it is desperately needed. How you handle your stress levels will determine your overall health, and the following article by Ricardo Reeves explains on how to go about dealing with your debt such that it won’t lead to health problems later on.
In the current economic climate, it is easy to read the newspapers or watch bulletins warning us over further economic crises, and let ourselves be overwhelmed by the sense of hopelessness. This is especially the case when suffering from personal debt management problems, and if we let these feelings completely overpower us our physical and mental health can suffer as a result.
When we are feeling stressed it is because of a series of hormonal releases – the response of the body to an undesirable feeling, a timeless chemical reaction to a dangerous situation. Symptoms of these discharges include increased heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. We are also more inclined to reach out for comfort foods like chocolate, which in particular makes us feel better in the short-term because it releases phenylethylamine and serotonin into the system. These chemicals are responsible for making us feel happy and energetic – alleviating our stress momentarily – but in the long-term the effect will be weight gain. If we turn to these ‘remedies’ consistently, this weight gain will continue, leaving us at increased risk of diseases like heart disease, strokes, diabetes, gout and even cancer.
Other common strategies for dealing with stress are smoking, drinking heavily or even recreational drug use. The effects of all of these ‘de-stress’ methods are well documented in a number of high-profile government marketing drives. The estimated costs to the NHS of just these three causa primas are over £5billion, whereas it is estimated that diabetes alone costs the NHS £1million per hour.
Perhaps most pertinently, a common coping strategy for stress is spending money. It feels good to treat ourselves and alleviate the gloom around us, but once more, it is only a moratorium in our feelings of despondency and, later on when we are considering our overall debt it will only make us feel worse. This becomes a ‘vicious circle’ – we feel the need to feel better, remember that our last instance of this came from comfort eating or comfort shopping and again head down the same route, exacerbating the situation and making us feel ever more the vice-like grip of stress upon us.
Breaking Out of the Circle
Like most self-induced health problems, there are simple remedies that can be undertaken, especially when considering your stress due to problems with debt management.
- Confront your debt – It is all too easy to ignore or deny the debt facing you. Make sure you read all of your bills and keep tabs on your monthly outgoings. It is also advisable to keep a written monthly record of exactly what you have incoming and outgoing, highlighted with any deadlines for payments.
- Actively plan your repayments – Once you have faced your debt, you can come to terms with making repayments. Work it out and do not be afraid, even if it still seems insurmountable.
- Seek advice – As the saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Whether it is to your friends, your spouse or an advisor from a debt management company, sharing your problem will literally be a weight off your mind.
- Take action – Keep making payments. If you have contacted a debt management company they will organize a settlement with your creditors that you can afford. If you have organized the settlement with your creditors yourself, make sure that you keep making these payments, otherwise your stress levels will rise once more.
Once you have confronted your debt, and taken action against it you will feel in control of the situation once more. Your stress level will decrease, and you will begin to enjoy your life again as you require fewer instances of comfort eating, drinking, smoking or shopping. Remember always how hard you have worked to give yourself this opportunity, and no matter how stressed-out you may feel nothing is more important than your health.