How Financial Stress Can Affect Your Health - Broke in London

How Financial Stress Can Affect Your Health

Guest post by Reema

There are all sorts of different situations that can occur over the course of everyday life that can put us under a substantial amount of stress, and cause negative side-effects with regards to both our health, and our ability to maintain a thriving sense of well-being. While sources of stress and frustration can come from all sorts of different angles, easily one of the most prevalent sources of stress – and one of the most devastating, in a range of different senses – is financial stress.

When all is said and done, concerns over money can be found at the heart of many interpersonal disputes, sleepless nights, tense personal and professional decisions, and – yes – also negative health consequences.

Fortunately, there are all sorts of different things that can be done in order to help mitigate the issues that come with financial stress – both the health issues, and others.

Causing Hair Loss

Our hair goes through different phases on a regular basis, including growth, degeneration, and resting phases. For a long time, it has been known that stress can cause and accelerate hair loss, but the exact reasons for this have not been known until recently.

Researchers working at Harvard University have found that the hormones associated with excessive stress – particularly the stress hormone cortisol – seem to cause hair to remain in the “resting phase” more, while also leading to slower growth, and accelerated hair loss in mice.

By contrast, when the mice are operated on to not have the same stress response, they experience radical and rapid hair regrowth, among other things.

Financial stress is, unfortunately, the kind of stress that is often difficult to resolve immediately – meaning that we tend to remain in those stressful situations for an extended period of time until we can reach a proper resolution.

This type of chronic stress, then, can certainly contribute to hair loss – a situation that many men in particular struggle with. Fortunately, there are various potential solutions for hair loss, including the medication finasteride.

Leads to Sleepless Nights

It’s a terrible feeling to be lying in bed, with your heart pounding and your thoughts racing at a hundred miles an hour, unable to drift off to sleep and experience the rest, recovery, and rejuvenation that you so badly need.

Financial stress can contribute to sleeplessness in several ways, including via elevated levels of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Financial stress can also keep you in a state of cognitive panic and attempted problem-solving, meaning that it can be even harder to get your mind to stop racing when you want it to.

To address this issue to some degree and to begin reclaiming your nightly slumber, emphasise lifestyle practices that reduce stress hormones and help your body to avoid ending up in a chronic “fight or flight” state.

Eating a diet high in healthy carbohydrates, and with moderate, rather than high protein and fat consumption, Seems to have the effect of reducing your body’s production of stress hormones.

Taking up certain common practices such as meditation, or targeted muscle relaxation just before bed, may help as well. Essential oils are another tool to explore.

Impulsive Decision Making

Stress, in general, has the ability to increase impulsivity, as we find ourselves in a hyper- alert and frustrated state, where it seems like we need to take advantage of anything “good” that comes our way as soon as it comes away, or else we will miss out altogether.

Financial stress, in particular, can exacerbate this tendency because when money is short, it can seem like trying to make longer-term financial plans is almost futile.

Of course, impulsive decision-making can negatively impact our lives in a number of ways, ranging from putting us into debt, to meaning that we fail to properly prepare and save for our future needs.

Importantly, impulsivity frequently leads to negative health consequences, too.

To reduce the risk of impulsivity when you are under financial stress, use a budgeting tool such as YNAB, and allocate yourself a fair amount of “fun money” every month, so that you’re able to enjoy yourself without feeling totally deprived, but know what your limits are.

Nutritional Deficiencies in your Body

When you are under financial stress, there is a good chance that you’ll either need to, or decide to, begin eating on a shoestring budget in order to make your money go further.

Unfortunately, this often results in very imbalanced and nutritionally lacking diets that create and exacerbate a variety of health problems down the line.

Work around this by buying wholesome staple foods such as rice and potatoes in bulk to save money, and by buying an affordable multivitamin to help address potential micronutrient deficiencies in your meals.

Here are a handful of ways in which financial stress can affect your health.