The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov

Monday, October 27, 2008

How debts affect your emotional well-being

Bills, bills and more bills, not to mention the calls from the agencies hassling you day and night about forgetting to pay your bill this month. Before you know it you're fighting with your spouse, the kids are crying and you're packing your bags leaving to stay with your mother.

It is not easy to feel the daily stress of being in a debt. It has been proven that high amounts of stress cause our body, mind and spirit to feel unwell while virtually killing us at a faster rate. The health issues are on the rise each year as the current tough economy and rising costs of living seem to be leading us to increasing debt stress.

According to an index tied to the AP-AOL survey, stress is on the rise by 14 percent this year than in 2004.

The people reporting high debt stress in the poll are:
27 percent of people had ulcers or digestive tract problems compared to those at 8 percent with low levels of debt stress.
44 percent had headaches and migraines, compared with the 15 percent with low stress.
23 - 29 percent suffered severe depression and anxiety, compared with 4 percent with low stress levels.
6 percent reported heart attacks, which is double the rate for those with low stress.
And more then half at 51 percent had muscle tensions including lower back pain, compare to the 31 percent with lower stress levels.

Our lives are virtually turned upside down when it comes to the results stress causes. It is not surprising the levels of foreclosures and financial bankruptcy have gone up, but also family issues with counselling and divorce levels on the rise as well. All these issues are due to stress and lack of ability to maintain our bodies calm and stress free.

Medical research studies suggest that most of these symptoms reported in the poll are in fact typical of chronic stress. Our bodies, magnificently as they are built, react releasing adrenaline called Cortisol from the adrenal gland that is often referred to as the stress hormone. It increases the blood pressure and blood sugar while it reduces the body's immune responses.

Adrenaline helps you react fast in a needed emergency, however if the body stays in this high gear for too long, those chemicals can cause physical havoc on numerous systems in the human body. Everything from blood pressure rising to dangerous levels, unstable heart rates and palpitations, memory loss, mood, digestion and even our immune systems are all affected.

Credit cards, car loans, mortgages and student loans cause such havoc on our lives. So how do we reduce stress while being in a debt? Studies suggest that exercising minimum of 3 times per week can reduce stress levels. There are many forms of exercise such as running, hiking, mountain climbing, taking walks, riding your bicycle and even taking a one hour yoga class to teach you some breathing and relaxation techniques, while listening to music also reduces stress.

Every little bit that we can do to help our bodies reduce stress counts for something. The debts are something we have to live with, so why fight it. Learning how to deal with stress and reducing it, is something we have in our power. In the end, not only we will live a happier more enjoyable life in a healthy body, but also increase our longevity.

Debt stress does not have to be a winner in the end. Three months ago my husband lost his job. I had no clue what was going to happen and how long he was going to be unemployed. Between our mortgage, car loan, huge house tax and credit card bills we barely had much left for food.

One thing I knew for sure was that I wasn't going to let this affect our marriage. We talked about our feelings almost daily and some days were easier then others. Having two small children, we explained to them about going places for a while will have to be put on hold. There were few juicy days of fiery fury I have to say and even though it was very tough and we got behind on so many bills, we made it through.

Within 2 weeks of his job loss, we both started exercising and even purchased bicycles with our credit card. We took more evening walks for fresh air and to clear the mind. And while it may have not been that wise to increase our credit card bill, we even went camping for a total of 4 weeks this summer. It took my husband three months to find employment and while giving us the ability to deal with our debt issues together, we have learned a lot about each other and ourselves. Three months later we are not only fit but also much happier and healthier. And, even though we are still in debt our stress is not as bad as it used to be prior to his job loss.

No comments: