There are some things in life that are more stressful than others—losing a job, moving, divorce. However, few things are more stressful for people than money issues. Whether you have a lot or a little, money can cause problems. It’s the number one stressor in the United States. In fact, money stresses people out so much that it actually has a name. Psychologists use the term money anxiety disorder (MAD) to describe constant worry about finances.
When someone doesn’t have enough money, they’ll worry about how they’re going to make rent payments, buy groceries, and pay other bills. However, it’s not just those with not enough that suffer. People with lots of money can often get caught up in accumulating more and more, and may worry about losing what they have.
Thankfully, there are ways to deal with the anxiety around money. First, learn about yourself by taking a careful look at how you’re spending. Keep a money journal, and track what you spend. This isn’t always a fun activity, but it can be a very educational one.
From there, set a budget for your expenses. Decide what you can reasonably spend on things like groceries, gas, household items, toiletries, and fun. Use your money journal to see what you already spend, what you need, and where you may be spending needlessly. Once you create a budget, make an effort to stick to it, at least approximately. One way to do that might be with a budgeting app. Knowing where your money is going and gaining some control over your spending can help ease your mind about finances.
You may also want to consider adding savings into your budget. Putting money aside for an emergency can help you feel a little more secure if something big happens. A good rule is to try to have three to six months of living expenses in savings so you’re not panicked if something goes amiss.
There are also ways to cope emotionally. Practicing gratitude for what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t, can help you see just how blessed you are. You’ll learn to be content with where you are financially so you’re not quite so stressed. Things like donating to charity or even volunteering time with the less fortunate can help put things into perspective, as well.
If you just can’t seem to resolve the stress you’re feeling about money on your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist who can help with the anxiety. Feel free to reach out to one of our therapists at anytime.