• Tuesday, March 05, 2024

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Coping with cash worries

Self-help techniques can combat finance-related anxieties

By: Mita Mistry

THE recent cost of living crisis has created a wave of anxiety among many, with around three in four adults reporting feeling overwhelmed about their financial well-being, according to ONS.

Although it’s natural to experience such worries, excessive concern can become all-consuming, leaving you unable to function in daily life. Falling into this cycle of worry not only clouds judgment and decision-making, but also disrupts sleep, which is crucial for your mental and physical health, as well as for effectively managing financial challenges.

Although self-help techniques won’t necessarily solve all your money problems, they can help combat money-related anxieties to regain control over your emotions and thoughts, and ultimately put you in a better place to make sound decisions.

‘Worry time’ involves setting aside a specific period during the day for worrying. For example, set 15 minutes in the evening to write down all your worries like a physical brain dump and then move on. While the living cost crisis might be beyond your control, it’s essential to focus attention on things you can influence. Mindfulness is a helpful tool for dealing with everyday stressors, as it encourages focusing on the present moment rather than obsessing over an uncertain future.

Try an app such as Calm or breathing in for a count of four, holding for a count of seven, and breathing out a whoosh for a count of eight to help.

Money concerns often trigger feelings of embarrassment or shame, leading to a tendency to avoid facing the issues at hand. However, instead of avoiding bills or financial matters, addressing them early can prevent significant problems in your mind and bank balance. So, open those bills, and make those phone calls no matter how uncomfortable it feels, you’ll save yourself a lot of aggro in the long run.

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness; in fact, it displays strength and courage. Speak with support organisations such as Citizens Advice (England, Scotland, and Wales) for valuable guidance. Or reach out to friends and family who might be able to support you.

Remember, many people are currently facing challenges – the living cost crisis is not anyone’s fault. So, be kinder to yourself. Self-blame and selfcriticism can take a toll on your mental health and sense of self-worth. Reframe any harsh self-judgment with self-compassion such as, “I will get through this”.

Experiencing money worries can be isolating. Nurture positive relationships and stay connected. Even a brief check-in with a neighbour or a phone call with a loved one can ease the burden and lessen your worries.

During trying times, prioritising your physical and mental health is crucial. Engage in regular physical activity, spend time outdoors in nature, maintain good sleep habits, contribute to the community, learn new skills, adopt a healthy diet, and be mindful of smoking and alcohol intake.

Furthermore, it’s essential to limit your exposure to negative news, as consuming too much distressing information can fuel anxious cycles. Stay informed from reliable sources once or twice a day, which is more than sufficient.

If you’re persistently feeling low or experiencing extreme mood swings, please seek professional help from your GP or a mental health professional. Brushing mental health issues under the carpet will not make them magically disappear, so ask for help and take steps toward regaining control over your life. You are certainly not alone.

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