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.
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!
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.
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