It's pretty obvious when we have literal symptoms of financial stress--I mean, we know when we are having difficulty paying our bills or being able to provide certain needs to our families. But, do we know that there are other, personal effects that having financial issues can cause? Ask yourself: Do I react well to stress?
Research shows that chronic stress has a large connection to chronic inflammation and stress-related diseases including: Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. Cardiovascular disease such as heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke. What are some red flags we need to be aware of before some of these take hold?
Red Flag #1 - Do you have new aches and pains? Back/neck pain, digestive issues, migraines and anxiety are all red flags you need to pay attention too. We all have some new aches and pains one time or another, but, I mean an ache or pain that won't seem to get better after a bit of time. It's time to get these checked out because stress can be leading you down a health risk path you don't want to go.
Red Flag #2 - Do you seem less interested in your job, activities and things that would generally make you happy? This could be a sign of the start of depression. We all have a "down day" once in a while, but, if it becomes the "norm" it might be time to find someone to talk to to get some help.
Red Flag #3 - Are already existing health issues getting worse at a quicker rate? Some physical issues are exasperated in combination with stress. Skin issues, insomnia, mental health issues (as I mentioned before) and hypertension to name a few.
Red Flag #4 - Are you self medicating a lot with alcohol or drugs or has your general behavior changed? Drinking, smoking or using other drugs more and a sudden change in your general behavior can all be signs of stress affecting your general health.
Red Flag #5 - Do you notice a detrimental change in your relationships? If the relationships in your life have taken a sudden down turn or if you are isolating yourself, this could be a big red flag that chronic stress is affecting you. Finding help is crucial at this point.
If you have any/all of these red flags, getting counseling, finding a group you can join with similar issues or even just talking to your doctor can help you get on a healthy path to manage your general stress. In addition, for your financial stress, you may want to consider a job change, some financial counseling and some debt reduction help.--Jen Lush