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Struggling with debt is more than just a financial problem. The stress and anxiety that often coincides with debt can be far more damaging in the long term. Studies have linked debt to depression, hypertension and other stress-related diseases. The following is a five-step guide to help you learn to cope with your debt and the emotional issues that it manufactures.
- Acceptance of Your Debt Problem
The first step in overcoming your stress is to identify your debt as a problem. Much like with other problems, debt is something that builds slowly and grows exponentially, spiraling out of control before you realize it. For some, spending can be a type of psychological reward for heartache and disappointment. In these instances denial of the problem can only exacerbate the issue. It may sound simple, but just accepting that you have a debt problem is critical to formulating a solution.
- Seek Counseling
When dealing with a stressful issue, it’s important to alleviate your burden by talking with others. As a large debt can affect not only you but the emotional well-being of those around you, being frank and honest about your failings will reduce the anxiety that comes with holding on to a shameful secret. In some cases, it may be easier to talk with a stranger such as a debt counselor. Either way, letting out your emotions and finding external support will help you better manage your psychological state.
- Eat Healthy and Exercise
One of the best ways to deal with depression of any kind is to exercise and take care of your body. A good fitness routine will help you relieve stress and sharpen your focus. A sound body leads to a sound mind. The decisions you make regarding your debt should be made clear of the cobwebs of frustration and anxiety.
- Construct a Plan
If debt is a disease, the only way to cure it is to remove the source of the pain and frustration. This is not to say you will need to clear your debt before you can get better. Simply having a plan and setting yourself on the path to financial recovery will do wonders for your emotional well-being. Re-evaluate your spending habits and identify the mistakes that got you into debt. Formulate a budget which eliminates the debt by a realistic date. The nature of debt can make it seem like a never ending problem, and setting an actual finish line can be an uplifting reminder that this beast can be vanquished.
- Be Proud of Your Achievement
Once you have set your monthly spending goals, the challenge is to reach them. Given that this is no easy task, you should take pride in the time and effort you took to achieve it. Pride and a sense of accomplishment can help you maintain a positive attitude in the face of debt.
Debt and depression are inextricably linked. Debt can lead to sorrow, which fuels the desire to spend. Spending can become an addiction, a reward no different than a drug. In this way, debt can become a vicious cycle of stress and pain, yet it is not a problem that can’t be solved. By following a strict financial regimen and relying on the support of your family and friends, you can overcome your debt crisis and grow stronger in the process.