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7 Proven Ways To Ease Your Financial Anxiety

Finance

When I was living in Atlanta with no job, I was the most stressed that I've ever been in life. I even had to see a therapist a few times due to the anxiety and depression that I was experiencing because I was broke and jobless.

I was struggling to even get out of bed every single day, yo.

Financial stress and anxiety is a leading cause of stress in the U.S. and I don't know about you, but I think that's absolutely insane! In fact, it's one of the reasons why I wanted to write about this serious topic. I want you to stop worrying so much about your finances and start doing the work that it takes to turn your situation around. I had to do what I needed to do while I was struggling and that's when I decided that Atlanta wasn't the place for me (after getting evicted of course) and asked my dad to help me move back home.

Let's face it, we've all been stressed out about our financial situation at some point in our lives (unless you've had everything handed to you since birth). Whether you've stressed out about all of your bills piling up, you having more month left than money, or how you were going to even afford to eat, it's something that's totally relatable.

Things can get pretty serious if you let it get out of hand though. When you get to the point where you are stressing about money on a consistent basis, there's additional things that you need to be worrying about. Stress and anxiety can cause a ton of damage to you, both psychologically and physically.

As a mental health professional, it's super important for me to spread awareness of how money can impact our mental health. Financial worries contribute to a decreased quality of life and that's the complete opposite of what I want for you. I want you to live the life of your dreams without any hesitation or worries. You have total control over your finances and you have the power to change your situation and ease your anxiety.

Here are 7 ways that you can stress easing that stress right away.

Stop being a Debbie Downer.

That negative attitude you have isn't helping you one bit. You have to start focusing on the positive instead of being negative all of the time. If you don't change your way of thinking, you're not going to be successful. Having a positive attitude about your finances isn't going to all of a sudden make money fall out of thin air, but it will definitely help with easing your anxiety. Take out some time to identify all of the good things about your finances and focus on those things.

Stop with the comparing.

You've gotta stop looking at what her, her, and them are doing and buying if you want to decrease your stress. Constantly making comparisons to others isn't doing you any good. Just because you see them taking trips every week, buying expensive cars and clothes, and having it up all the time doesn't necessarily mean they're ballin'. They could be putting on a real good front while they struggling just like the next person. You never know what's going on behind closed doors.

Instead of wasting your time focusing on what everybody else is doing, use that energy to determine what you need to be doing to feel better about your finances.

Once you put those guidelines in place and start working towards them, you'll be able to measure your own success without worrying about what they're doing on the internet.

Get educated.

In order to ease some of your anxiety, make sure that you're educating yourself about personal finances. Things won't be so stressful once you grasp the knowledge and tools needed to gain control over your money. Do your research, talk to a financial advisor, take a course, do whatever you need to do to increase your understanding.

Stack your coins ASAP.

Y'all, an emergency fund eliminates soooo much stress! When those random things happen that you have to come out of pocket for, you won't be scrambling and struggling to come up with the money (or reach for that credit card). Ideally, having at least 3 months of expenses saved up can save you a ton of heartache and frustration in the end. No longer will you have to call up your family and friends to help you!

Related: Managing Your Money: What They Don't Teach In School

Be more intentional.

There are a few ways in which you can shop a little smarter. You can use coupons for everything. When shopping for clothes, shop off season. Grocery shop only once or twice a week instead of everyday, it'll save you some money. Also, stick to a grocery list. If it isn't on the list, don't pick it up and throw it in your cart! Walk into the store with a specific budget in mind, don't go over that! When I grocery shop, I have my calculator out and I calculate everything that I pick up and put in my cart to ensure that I'm staying in my lane (literally).

Decrease the amount of debt you have.

This action step is MAJOR! If you haven't done so already, make a list of all of your debts and their amounts owed (smallest to largest). Create an action plan for attacking those debts. As you start cutting back on your expenses, you'll have a few coins to put towards your debts. Once you decrease some of your debts, you will be able to free up even more of your money. Ideally, this 'extra' money should be used to attack the remaining debts that you have so that you can start using that money to save and build wealth.

Related: I Cleared $35,000 Worth Of Debt While Making $12 An Hour

Treat yourself.

Have you hit one of your goals? Use this accomplishment to do something good for yourself! You don't want to be too strict and uptight when it comes to getting your finances together. However, you don't wanna be too lax either! When treating yo' self, you don't have to spend a bunch of money. Here's a few suggestions: Take a bubble bath. Relax. Give yourself a mani and pedi. Cook yourself a special meal. Take a day off of work for yourself. Binge on your favorite movies. Invite some of your besties over for a night full of laughter. Go to a free museum. There are a ton of things that you can do that's good for yourself without breaking the bank.

Here's a quick recap: Make sure you're thinking and speaking positively about your finances, educating yourself, treating yourself good, getting out of debt ASAP, and stacking your coins boo.

Now let's talk about it. Do you feel stressed out at the very thought of your financial situation? How do you handle everything? Sound off in the comments, I wanna hear from you!

*Originally published on Debt Free Black Girl

Featured image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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