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Learning to Deal with the Stress of a Financial Crisis

Learning to deal with the stress of a Financial Crisis

Money is often a common cause of stress and the reason for marital difficulties.  But during times of serious global economic decline people may become even more stressed. They may worry about losing it all, and not just a Springbok casino bonus, but their very livelihoods, their savings and even losing their homes.

At times like this, there are steps that can be followed that will help to reduce stress and lead to a more positive attitude and a sense of peace

Stay calm

The body’s fight or flight response kicks in when we feel under threat. It’s a natural response of the body. It raises your heart rate and the body releases stress hormones and there are other bodily responses that happen which create the energy to respond quickly, run or stay and fight. This may work for short term situations but if your body remains in this situation for long periods it can cause real health issues.

How stress can affect your health

It’s important to have some strategies to help you reduce stress and to calm your body’s natural response to stress. By reducing stress, you will be able to think more clearly and work out some solutions and at the same time stay healthier.  There are some stress relief strategies that will help.

  • Learning some breathing techniques will be helpful. You can do breathing exercises anywhere and at any time.  You can calm yourself in a tense situation without anyone being aware of it.  It can take as little as a few minutes to calm yourself down by focusing on your breathing.
  • PMR, Progressive muscle relaxation also works well to reduce stress.  This also is easy to do and takes only a few minutes to have an effect on how you feel and to reduce the effects of chronic stress on your body.
  • Journaling can really help to reduce stress. Some people need to feel that they are doing something about the situation.  Getting out of your head all those stressful thoughts and writing about the stress can be useful.   If you complete your journaling session with some constructive ideas and solutions you will begin to feel more in control and develop a more positive attitude.

We are not in charge of everything that comes into our lives.  However, we are in charge of how we perceive things and how we then respond to them. For example, if we see a situation as threatening, we might feel fearful and feel helpless.

However, if we perceive the situation as challenging then our response is likely to be very different. If we see no end to the situation and feel doom and gloom our stress levels will rise dramatically. If we are able to see the situation as something temporary and something that can be overcome, we will begin to feel that relief in our body.

Reframing

There are some types of reframing that work particularly well when moving through a financial crisis.

  • If you are feeling that the cause of your financial problems is down to your behavior, you should try telling yourself that this actually happens to many people and you are not alone in this.  By working through this crisis, you will show you are able to manage and demonstrate your personal strengths.
  • If you are worried about your family and how this crisis will affect them, you should remember that often these situations bring out the best in people and they often pull together and become even stronger. 
  • You may feel scared and stressed about how this will affect the future.  You need to tell yourself that things may change for the better. Opportunities unforeseen may present themselves and you may find yourself in a much better situation than previously. Money may be short but you may be far happier and less stressed.
  • By looking and examining the thoughts and feelings that come up and reframing them into more positive ways of looking at things, will really impact your stress levels. When you reframe how you see the situation, you will feel less stressed and be able to see things more clearly and to come up with solutions and see the opportunities that will present themselves.

Ways to change your perspective and really change everything

Sometimes reframing a situation means to actually move away from it and come back later with a fresh look and attitude. Unfortunately, this is not something that many people know how to do.

Most people don’t know how, or that it’s even possible, to actually take a break from these really uncomfortable and stressful thoughts.  The usual way is to process these stressful thoughts continually. The break needs to come in the form of activities with family, engaging in some favorite hobby or just watching some fun comedies on TV that will make you laugh.

These activities will change your state of mind and prevent you from focusing and stressing about the situation. These reframing techniques will help to avoid stressful thoughts and prevent you from spiraling down further.  You can control your thoughts and you are able to put yourself into a better frame of mind.

Financial difficulties and emergencies often represent a real change to normal life patterns and a challenge that must be met head-on.  However, it can also be seen as a real learning experience and a way to change the way we think and work in order to make the future work for us.

You may be inspired to change your attitudes towards money, family, and life in general. Perhaps live a more frugal life.  Serious financial problems can be really scary but they can be overcome.  A positive attitude is worth a fortune and will see you through to the other end.

Keep your eyes open and believe that opportunities are coming your way.  Look to the future with the knowledge that these financial difficulties will pass and you will feel less stressed out.

Making plans, and preparing is important and you should focus on any possibilities that might arise, and share your ideas with people that may be able to advise. It may be worth speaking with a financial advisor to make sure you are on the right path or that you have actually looked at the whole picture.

This may be a long-drawn-out process taking months, sometimes years, but a plan is crucial to how you are going to handle the crisis.  Having a plan will enable you to put the issues aside and not make you focus continually on these financial issues. You will have a life and be less stressed.

Keep a positive image of the future in mind.  Things are going to improve. Making a plan and working on a positive attitude will help you to have a positive vision for the future. Your vision for the future will be one of financial security and stability for your family.

Life is full of fun activities and joyous relationships. In the short term, your goals may be just getting through the next month.  You can manage this in a more relaxed and peaceful manner.   You can create a mental picture of how you see the future and go there regularly for respite.

A vision board is also something worth making for yourself.  Get proactive and create that change for yourself. Keep looking ahead.

Don’t’ be afraid to ask for help

If you feel you can’t handle the stress on your own, you should be sure to ask for help. Often people feel embarrassed to reach out but just asking for help may relieve some pressure.

  • Family and friends are obviously the first place you should go.  You should share your worries with the people you love and who love you.  You may be surprised at how much support and comfort you receive and how much this will reduce your stress.
  • You may need some advice from a professional financial advisor. Sometimes we think we have looked at the whole situation but someone who really understands monetary issues may come up with a better plan.  This can make us feel more in control of the situation and more positive and optimistic about the future.
  • Keep in mind that sometimes when you are experiencing a real crisis you may need help from a mental health professional to help you get through the stressful period. If you find that basic stress relief techniques are not really helping, you should seek out help from a doctor or some other mental health professional who is experienced in helping in these situations. 

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