In addition to pandemic and post-election anxiety, many of us are also having financial anxiety right now. Whether it’s because of job losses during Covid or the uncertainty of the future, the current economic situation has many of us worried about money. Luckily there are some very simple ways to combat financial anxiety. Tackling anxiety often means a change of mindset—and financial anxiety is no different. Here are five ways to cure your financial anxiety:
The Thief of Joy
Always remember that comparison is the thief of joy. It’s really easy to look at Instagram and think that someone else has more money than you—and by extension a better, cooler life—because they’re on a nice beach vacation while you’re tied to the computer or because they bought an expensive pair of shoes during lockdown while you were budgeting. But remember that you can’t tell someone else’s financial situation by social media, nor should you care. Focus on yourself and stop comparing. Once you put down the phone, you’ll feel almost instantly better.
Take the Wheel
Anxiety often comes from feeling out of control or lost. The best way to manage those feelings is to be proactive and take action. First pinpoint what it is that you’re worried about. Is it planning for retirement? Trying to navigate life insurance? Then do your research. Take a class online or attend a virtual lesson on the subject. Once you’re armed with knowledge, you’ll feel more in control and better equipped to address your specific anxiety.
Sometimes we suffer more in our imaginations than we do in reality. Take a second to think about the worst case scenario. What will happen if your paycheck is short this month? Will your family and friends be able to help? Will you be okay? Can you always find another job? The answer to all of those is yes. Don’t let your mind spiral to the point where there’s a disconnect between your fears and what might realistically happen. Also remember to deal with issues if and when they come. There’s no use in whipping yourself up over “what if” questions. Save the real worrying for when a problem actually arises.
Don’t try to tackle all of your financial anxieties at once. If you’re anxious about a number of things, pick one to address first. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re anxious about, say, how much you’ve been spending on groceries, whether you’ll be laid off, and if your company is doing alright financially. Choose the stressor that’s easiest to manage first. Once you’ve gotten one anxiety under control, you’ll feel better to move on to the others. If you try to address it all at once, you’ll only end up feeling more overwhelmed and unsure where to begin. And remember, not everything has to be dealt with right away. It’s okay to take time.
Ask for Help
This doesn’t have to mean spending more money on a therapist. Rather, use the tools already available to you, whether that’s technology or other people. Perhaps you ask your partner to hold you accountable by taking inventory on how much you spent each week or you use Mint to help you budget. It’s okay to seek out assistance. Sometimes anxieties worsen when we feel like we’re dealing with them alone. Even just talking to a friend about your anxieties can put your mind at ease.
Everyone deals with financial anxiety at some point. Remember that your anxieties aren’t unique and that there are resources out there to help cure them. Sometimes this is your own mind! Other times, it’s useful to download an app. Find whatever it is that works for you; it might even be a mix of things. Remember that a little anxiety is good. It keeps us from overspending and impulse buying. You just don’t want your financial fears to get the best of you.
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