It’s believed that one in four Brits experience mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and more every single year. And as the BBC reports, this is down in part to money issues: in fact, one study found that over 20,000 people were chased for debt repayment while hospitalised for mental health conditions in 2017.
The effect of money worries can be subtle, but it’s profound: anxiety stimulates certain hormones in your brain, while money issues can also keep you awake at night and limit the amount of sleep you’re able to get. Money problems are also sometimes responsible for substance abuse issues too. Staying on top of your money, then, can have a profound impact on your mental health.
Prevent Stress and Worry
When you’re not sure where your next meal is going to come from or how you’re going to manage to get some extra funds to pay this month’s bills, money can become a real source of stress. In order to mitigate this issue, it’s wise to ensure you aren’t burying your head in the sand about the problem – and draw up a budget instead. Even if the budget spells bad news, you’ll get a sense of relief once you know exactly where all of your money is going and how you can cut costs. This, in turn, will give you the clear-mindedness you need to identify places to reduce your spending.
Make sure you list absolutely everything down and really rack your brains to ensure things you may not have accounted for at the start of the year. For example, you may have booked a holiday but not yet thought of paying for insurance or any visas you may need. And what about that business trip you had to Saudi last month? You paid for a Saudi Business Visa out of your own money, but have you claimed your expenses from work yet?
Those extra bits of money that are owed to you, will help chip away at your own finances so be sure to keep track of them and chase up what is owed to you.
Invest in Yourself
In today’s short-term economy, forward planning isn’t common. Living from one monthly wage packet to the next is very common, and it’s something that can prevent you from living your best life. By setting up a standing order to put – say – 3% of your income in savings each month, though, you can stockpile enough cash over time to achieve your financial goals, which will ultimately benefit your mental health. Whether that’s a small holiday for a week in the summer to allow you to recharge your batteries or even saving enough to allow you to switch careers, being organised with your cash can really turn your life around in the long run.
There are many different reasons why the 25% of British people who experience difficulties with their psychological health are having problems. But one key cause for many people is money: whether it’s an inability to access the pleasures or flexibility that make life worth living or simply a more immediate worry about how to pay the bills or put food on the table, money can be a big driver of stress. But by budgeting, saving and cutting down your costs, you can improve your finances to the point where they’re no longer a major source of worry.