Anxiety and financial stress

Almost 20% of the population has anxiety according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). I for one have also battled this condition. That 20% is equivalent to about 40 million Americans. There are different types of anxiety and various causes, but at the end of the day it is a mental illness.

Tens of millions of Americans have anxiety due to stress in their lives, and a large percentage of that is from financial matters. Surveys from Gallup as well as companies such as Varo Money show that 30% to 50% of all American adults are stressed out about money and finances. Creditcards.com reports that up to 65% of Americans lose sleep thinking about money and their finances. The majority of Americans do not even have a few hundred dollars saved for an emergency, and most Americans have only a tiny fraction of what they should have saved for retirement.

Study after study shows this…that America is an anxious nation, and a big part of that anxiety is over finances. And some (much?) of that anxiety of financial stress is self-inflicted. Even just look at the record amount of credit card debt and auto loans that people owe; that is 100% self-inflicted. 

I battle anxiety on and off, but it is now much better than it has been. Maybe some social anxiety (but I have never been formally diagnosed with that medical conditions) as well as anxiety over financial matters and really the pressure I put on myself to succeed, try to be perfect, etc. It definitely comes and goes, but my anxiety was much worse in the past.

A few years ago I had a full fledged panic attack. I was working too hard and long, thinking about stocks and investing too much, and filling myself with really what amounted to self-made pressure. And I did not need to place myself under that pressure as I was already very successful professionally and financially; in fact I could have retired in my mid to late 30s. In hindsight I do not know why I worked as hard as I did after my mid 30s, as it was not for the money.

Once that panic attack occurred I realized I needed to cut way back, and I did exactly that. It was either cut back and change my lifestyle, or who knows…maybe I would have been dead from a heart attack by the time I was 50. But I do think the anxiety and panic aged my appearance physically.

Post anxiety-panic attack I took much of the risk out of my investments, meditated, exercised more, ate even better than I did before, slowed down and “smelled the roses”, and other things. I embraced peace, quiet, nature, reading, and other relaxing activities. I also retired, and went into the post-retirement life as far as cutting way back on my work, and now I only work when I want to. It is more for enjoyment and to keep my mind active. I did my best to battle anxiety, without going on medications.

No matter what your anxiety is caused by, whether financial stress, school work, stress from death of a loved one, marital problems, disability, a serious medical issue, divorce or separation, or something else, there are things to do. Talk to a medical professional.

When it comes to financial stress, we have information all across this site on how to cut back and save money, live a simpler less stressful life, make a few extra dollars in stress free ways, reduce debts, and more. We write about building an emergency savings, not needing to spend money like the Joneses, and other steps to take.

We are of course not medical professionals, and if you battle anxiety we recommend getting professional help, but when it comes to the financial challenges that many Americans face, this site may help.

Comments

  1. Katie

    I got small 2 kids, no man for support. Many nites barely sleep cause anxious about how gonna pay the bills. 🙁 I wish life simpler

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