Money worries are not a new phenomenon in Australia. The leading cause of stress in the country is often strained personal finances, according to the Australian Psychological Society’s (APS’s) Stress and Wellbeing survey.
Sadly, the APS said a growing number of people are turning to potentially risky behaviours to alleviate stress. Respondents who reported high levels of distress were more likely to drink alcohol (61 percent), gamble (41 percent), and smoke (40 percent) in an effort to manage their feelings.
But what are some of the positive ways to prevent concerns over your personal finances from spiralling out of control? Here are our tips for taking a proactive approach to debt.
Are you stressed about debt? We can help you to get back on track.
80 percent of people choose to chill out with a tune when they’re feeling under the weather.
1. Stay social
Whether you’re embarrassed about your debt situation or you’re concerned you can’t afford to socialise, money problems may cause people to isolate themselves. But talking to your friends and family about your worries – or simply relaxing with those closest to you – can be hugely beneficial.
In fact, 81 percent of people in the Stress and Wellbeing survey said they manage stress by spending more time with loved ones. Can four out of five people really be wrong?
2. Listen to music
Music soothes the soul, and if you don’t believe us, check out the research! A University of Marburg study from last year showed that music has stress-reducing qualities, particularly if enjoyed in the company of others or when people listen to songs specifically to relax.
It’s unsurprising, then, that 80 percent of people choose to chill out with a tune when they’re feeling under the weather. But if the research is to be believed, you could amplify the mellowing effects of music if you go to a gig or a festival with some friends.
3. Exercise and healthy diet
Stress can often lead to bad eating (and drinking) habits, as well as a lack of motivation and a general feeling of low energy. Understandably, hitting the gym and drawing up a healthy diet plan might not seem like your biggest priorities at the moment.
However, the research is almost unanimous when it comes to exercise; you’ll lower stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, while stimulating mood elevators such as endorphins. A balanced diet will also give you more energy, a better immune system and help you lose weight.
Nature programs reduce stress, tiredness, anger and low energy, while inspiring awe, curiosity and amazement.
4. Watch TV
No, we’re not kidding. It may seem contradictory to simultaneously promote exercise and watching TV as ways to reduce stress, but bear with us. Relaxing with a box set or film is the most popular activity among Australians looking to manage stress – 85 percent of people do so, according to the APS study.
But are they right? Apparently so, although it depends on what you watch! A recent study from the University of California Berkeley found that nature programs reduce stress, tiredness, anger and low energy, while inspiring awe, curiosity and amazement. News reports and dramas don’t have the same effect though.
5. Face your debt management fears
Burying your head in the sand about your debt situation will only make things worse, and better money management can be a challenge, particularly if you’re not exactly sure where you’re going wrong.
This is where a financial planner can help you take control of debt by discussing your circumstances and helping you identify areas where you can make improvements.
You may find that with just a few small adjustments, you can get your finances – and your stress levels – back on the road to recovery. For more information or investment help and advice, please contact a member of the team at Invest Blue.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.