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6 Ways to Cope With Money Problems

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(Adapted from a collaboration between Chasing the Dream and Next Avenue; Jennifer Nelson, writer.)

If you are having money problems, it’s quite possible they are causing you physical pain. People who feel their financial outlook is shaky may actually experience more physical pain than those who are financially secure.

Research in the journal Psychological Science found the link between physical pain and finances may be driven by the lack of financial control over your life. It can hurt physically to be economically insecure.

Six studies conducted at U. of Virginia and Columbia U. found that financial woes produce physical pain, reduce tolerance to pain and can predict over-the-counter (OTC) pain killer consumption.

Of 33,000 people, households in which both adults were unemployed spent 20% more on OTC painkillers in 2008 than households where at least one adult was working. Also, an online study of 187 participants correlated unemployment and financial insecurity with reports of pain.


Many doctors’ visits are because of stress, and money is the number one cause of stress,” says Leanne Jacobs, a holistic wealth expert, author and the host of the Beautiful Money podcast and website.

Chronic money stress often leads to lower back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain says Dr. Nathan Wei, a national expert in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis from Maryland. “When my patients have a flare up, I ask them what kind of stress they are under.” (Holistic practitioners know lower back pain is usually money-related.)

Financial challenges, such as unemployment and abundant debt [this should be an oxymoron], can attack a person’s self-worth and lead to depression. Plus, physical problems can begin to compound when high levels of stress continue for prolonged periods of time.

“What starts with clenched teeth, tense muscles and low energy can eventually turn to heart attacks, hypertension and impaired immune system,” says Lisa M. LaMarche, a financial planner and CPA in Delaware.

“As a financial adviser, I see first-hand the physical pain and health issues that can develop from dealing with money problems.”

LaMarche regularly talks to clients about the importance of caring for both their health and their wealth. “Without health, we can’t enjoy the money we’ve worked and saved for. Without our wealth, we aren’t able to afford the activities we want to do while our bodies are healthy,” says LaMarche.


6 Ways to Cope With Money Problems

1. Make sleep a top priority.  Nix electrical gadgets in the bedroom, be mindful of not overeating before bed and sleep in a dark, quiet room.

2. Move your body. When stress energy is stagnant and stuck in the body, it shows up as spasms and eventually pain. Exercise gets the energy moving.

3. Write a plan to address your financial problems.  Include specific goals with particular dates and write those dates in the calendar.

4. Get your finances organized. Make sure all your financial documents, such as bills, wills and account information are easy to find and up to date.

5. Review your insurance coverage. Consider all your policies: life, home, auto, medical and disability. Do you have appropriate coverage in each area?

6. Save as much money as you can. Set aside cash each month in an emergency fund or a separate savings account, even during sluggish financial times. Savings can cushion a blow.