It is repeated time and time again that money cannot buy happiness, and many people nod in agreement with the statement. However, many others tend to disagree to some extent. Americans that find themselves constantly faced with bills and no end in sight politely disagree. They say that money is necessary for happiness since it is the only thing that can resolve financial problems. The turmoil that economic instability causes can quite negatively affect someone’s quality of life. After all, money is what we use to secure a roof over our heads, food, and everyday necessities. It is what we use to pave the way into the future.
Not having readily available funds can drastically restrict the choices we have, which also affects us on a mental and physical level. Continually worrying about bills and due dates can affect mental well-being in several ways, which can lower the quality of our everyday lives. They can result in low self-esteem, loss of focus, and constant worry. In fact, a study carried out by Psychology Science showed that there is a link between experiencing physical pain and substantial debt. It showed that many unemployed people, which meant they had little to no form of income, were more likely to seek out pain killers.
What Can Cause Financial Instability
Many of us can relate to such a situation, since never experiencing money problems is rare. It can happen for several unexpected reasons, such as – being laid off, divorce, sickness, living beyond your means, economic crashes, accidents, etc. The list is endless, and the problem is that the bills and expenses do not go away when such tragedy hits.
Consequences of Financial Instability
Any one of the events mentioned above is stressful on its own, but if they are combined with the repercussions of having no money to cover them, they can get worse. Stress starts to breed more stress, and before you know it, you can be looking at a decline in your mental well being. Such events can show up in various forms, which can include any of the following.
1. Refusing to Face Facts - Denial
Denial has such a bad connotation to it that many people forget how widespread and normal it is. Denial comes in all forms, but it can be particularly dangerous when it is connected to an individual’s finances.
The average person does not have access to an endless line of credit or the luxury of a giant nest egg to rely on. If a person is not mindful of how they spend their money, they can end up spending compulsively and ignoring the effects of their expenditure. Such behavior can go on until they are eventually forced to face reality, by which time they can be in quite a difficult situation. This includes credit denial, eviction, legal action, and constant harassment. There are a few warning signs to look out for when debt denial is in question.
- Constantly underestimating how much you owe
- Avoiding phone calls for fear of harassment from creditors
- Ignoring bills – not opening them and stashing them out of sight
- Maxing out credit cards and opening new ones
- Justifying your actions by saying that everyone is in a similar situation
Such behavior can be a red flag that a person is in denial about their debt. The problem is that these actions can lead to a vicious cycle and result in more liability. Why would someone do this? The answer is simple. It is merely human behavior. The brain does it’s best to solve a problem, and when it cannot, it will rationalize circumstances to fit a different narrative. This defense mechanism can work in the short term, but the problem is that reality will catch up at some point.
2. Being Stressed Out
On the flip side of denial, there is its counterpart – stress. Stress is extremely prevalent among people who find themselves in debt, and many people can attest to experiencing certain levels of stress anytime money is in question. Stress can be hard to pinpoint and define due to it being expressed differently by different people, but the best way to do it is scientifically. A renowned endocrinologist, Hans Selye, coined the term and defined it as a non-specific reaction of the body to any demand or change.
What this means to the modern man is that the response can be triggered by practically anything, and money problems seem to be one of the leading causes. Once stress kicks in, it can take on multiple forms. These include trouble falling asleep, difficulty focusing, constant worry, and others. These are natural responses, but problems arise when they persist.
3. Fear Can Kick In
People can’t stay strong forever, and eventually, their levels of certainty can drop, resulting in fear or panic. These emotions can plague those facing substantial debt. These feelings get worse as an individual overthinks and makes matters worse. Imagining all the possible negative outcomes like losing a job, or missing important events starts to become a regular occurrence. It is needless to say that the quality of a person’s life is heavily affected.
4. Anger Takes Over
In dire situations such as debt, many people turn to anger when stress and fear do nothing. In fact, anger in such circumstances is so common that psychology has coined a term for these fits of rage – Debt Anger Syndrome.
When people get tired of being panicked and stressed out, they found themselves getting agitated and frustrated with circumstances. The lense of anger changes your outlook, and everyday life starts to trigger you. This can negatively affect your life and the lives of those around you.
5. Can Lead to Depression
Once a person has cycled through a myriad of emotions and has not found an answer, they can get to a state of hopelessness and, eventually, depression. Many studies show that depression is quite common for those facing substantial debt and that it can express itself in a lot of unhealthy ways.
6. There is Always a Way Out
It is clear that debt can drastically affect an individual’s mental health. The good news is that there is always a way out. It does not involve sedating yourself with medication or regular visits to a psychologist. However, it will require some discipline and trust. The answer lies in getting out of debt. While it might seem like an impossible task when you are in its clutches, debt is not a permanent state. With time, proper guidance, and assistance, a person can gradually get out of debt. The process involves creating a plan that looks to cut expenses, increase monthly payments, reduce interest rates, and cover all bills promptly.
Deciding you can overcome this hurdle is the first step, and usually the hardest. The process can be tackled on one’s own, but it is always best to get the assistance of professionals to speed up the process. There are reputable debt management agencies that are there to assist you and help you battle debt, no matter how great it is. They can assist in helping set a budget, negotiating terms with creditors, reducing interest rates, and maybe even reducing the overall debt. If you require professional assistance in this area, feel free to request a consultation.