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Financial Stress: How to Deal with Money-Induced Depression

Money may not be the root of all evil, but it’s definitely one of the causes of depression.

Depression is a common and very serious medical illness that affects how you feel, think and act. It causes feelings of sadness, and sometimes, a total loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. Depression, like many other mental illnesses, is caused by varying factors including physical, biological and environmental factors. Psychologists agree that one contributing factor that is likely to increase your risk of depression is your personal finance. Often, poor financial health leads to poor mental health which leads to even worse financial health.

Talk about a vicious cycle.

Agreed, this can reduce your productivity in life as well as in your career. To break out of money induced depression, you can do the following:

1. Reflect on the past

Generally, people have a 20/20 hindsight vision. So if you are unhappy about your finances, a good first step forward is a step back. Look at how you much you earned and how much you have spent, how much you borrowed and what you still owe. Take a stock of all your assets and see if they have appreciated or whether they have become a liability.

You should also reflect on what exactly it is that is making you feel so unhappy about your finances. Many times, we are sad about our money issues because we have not put things in proper perspective. When you do this, put things in perspective, you may realize that it might not be your fault. This is not the same thing as hedging or avoiding responsibilities. A good example is when the country’s economy is going through a recession. If the economy of the entire country is going through a tough phase, that can in no way be your fault now, can it?

Understanding this can help you feel better.

2. Take actions

After reflecting, you need to decide on practical steps that can help you deal with the problem(s) you have identified. Decide on whether you need to start earning more, saving more, spending less or if you need to dispose of those assets that have become liabilities. You can use whatever you make off that kind of sales to start paying off some of your bills.

Bills have a way of hanging over our heads like the sword of Damocles. One practical step to take when dealing with money depression is sorting through your bills. Sorting through your bills will give you a sense of purpose about what exactly needs to get done. it would also give you a good idea of a place to start.

Trust me, paying off your bills, no matter how little, will make you feel less burdened and happier.

3. Stay active

When dealing with money depression, you usually find yourself uninterested in things that were once pleasurable. You spend more time indoors, in a dark room, wallowing in self-pity and focusing on the things making you sad.

Instead of giving in to this temptation, stay active. Go out with friends. Do the things you used to do that made you happy. This helps to distract you from your money problems, even if temporarily. When you do this constantly, you find yourself becoming actually happy. It’s called the ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it approach’ for a reason.

4. GET HELP

Notice the uppercase? That’s because this is super-important. Many times, financial stress turns into full-blown depression because people do not get the kind of help and support they need. Sometimes, they think the problems will go away. Other times, they feel they can deal with it by themselves.

People also tend to be ashamed when they deal with any type of financial hardship because they think other people will perceive them as weak or inept if they come out to talk about their depression. But according to the American Psychological Association depression is not a sign of weakness or something you can snap out of. If you have been diagnosed with clinical depression, you need to get professional help from a licensed psychologist.

Similarly, you should consider employing the services of a financial planner who can help with solving your money problems.

At the end of the day, it comes down to how you react to the entire situation. Sometimes, your perceived money problems are all in your head. But there is also the possibility that it’s a wrecking ball coming to hit you right in the face.

Just know that no matter how terrible it seems, your attitude can make a huge difference about how you feel concerning your situation. Sounds like hogwash but it actually works. Research has shown that a positive outlook could improve your health and even extend your life.

It even makes sense that if you are feeling miserable, you cannot have the inspiration required to improve your finances.

So here’s the bottom line: feel good about the money you don’t have. If you can manage to pull this off, you will have bought yourself some time to ease out of a pretty messy situation. You can then find the inspiration you need to turn a storm into one hell of a ride to financial bliss. 

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