When it comes to the causes of stress in our everyday lives, none seem to be as constant as personal finances. Our finances can be, and often are, a great source of stress for many Americans. Whether you are struggling with some form of debt, trying to figure out how to send your children to college or saving up to buy a house, there are any number of reasons to feel stressed over your finances.
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Stress can be a hindrance not only to improving the financial situation causing it, but to your health in general. Reducing stress and taking action to create the financial future you deserve is the best way to an overall healthier and happier life. Here are four ways to reduce financial stress.
Change Your Outlook
Studies show that people living in America’s poorest communities, don’t save not because they couldn’t, but because they believed they couldn’t. Thus, it was not their actual reality that was the problem, but the outlook. Changing one’s attitude or perspective can be extremely difficult, but it is possible with time and practice.
Make daily gratitude lists or visualize yourself as free of financial stress. These things may seem insignificant, but they can go a long way in changing your attitude. And that can put you in the mindset to take action where your finances are concerned.
I am a big believer in goal setting, especially when it comes to finances. Think of some realistic goals you can come up with that would help you reduce stress. For example, would having an emergency savings reduce stress? Would paying down that debt you have been carrying reduce stress? If so, then your goals should be to have a certain amount saved or have this particular debt paid off.
Remember, goals should be measurable and definitive. Your goal should not be “I would like to save $2,000 or pay off my credit card debt” but “I would like to have X amount saved by the end of this year” or “I would like to pay off this credit card debt within the next 6 months.” Setting a time period on your goal helps to make it more real.
Ask For Help
Your personal finances do not come with a learning manual. Many of us learned how to handle our finances by being thrown into the deep end all on our own. Luckily, you do not have to do it alone anymore.
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You can seek out the counsel of a financial advisor or some other professional with experience in personal finance to help you on your road to reducing financial stress. If you cannot find or simply cannot afford this type of help, look around your city or town for workshops on personal finance to help you get started.
Also, if you have a friend or family member, whom you know is responsible with his or her own finances, you may want to turn to them for help. They can offer simple advice on finances or even just be an ear to listen to you while you vent out your frustrations. Alienating yourself in your financial stress is one of the worst things you can do.
Create a Budget
This may sound simple but creating a budget is important to giving yourself a feeling of control. The hardest part about budgeting is actually sticking to it. This is why the previous tips are necessary to understand prior to creating your budget.
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Changing your attitude and setting your goals can help eliminate the feeling of sacrifice that may come along with sticking to a budget. Having an advisor or someone you can talk to about finances will help when you have questions or concerns. When budgeting it is important to work within the confines of your income to meet your financial goals.
Many studies have revealed the link between finances and stress. Stress can become such a problem that it actually prevents us from getting out of our own way and taking charge of our finances. The above tips are helpful in turning our mindset around and taking the necessary steps to improve our financial situation, reducing financial stress.
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