Psychology of Money

9 Surprising Ways Stress Costs You Money

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Life today is moving at a fast pace and this is usually a major cause of stress and pressure to most people. If, for instance, you can’t meet the deadline of a particular project at work, that’s a source of stress.

With each passing day, stress seems to be part of our daily lives. We have to work more, have less time for ourselves and while at it, put smiles on our faces. We pretend that everything is alright.

That’s what the fast-paced society has taught us and in the process, ignore the fact that prolonged stress leads to depression. Untreated depression often ends up in one kicking the bucket.

As much as we try to be strong, let’s face the facts; whether you’re a full grown man or a kid, stress has the same effect on all of us.

It’s got the potential to cripple us and cause us to get sick. Most people have got this belief that when you ignore stress, it goes away. Right? Wrong. Downplaying it causes it to get worse.

And did you know that stress takes a toll on your finances too? True, handling stress isn’t a walk in the park. Some try and find comfort in stuff that’s not so healthy.

If you’re suffering from anxiety, the best thing to do is to try preventing it and relax as much as possible. Here are some of the surprising ways stress costs you money:

1. You get the Desire to Shop Away

Time out at the mall or store is a perfect get-away for some people after a stressful day at work. It’s just some harmless shopping, or so it seems until you come across something that catches your eye.

First, it’s a pair of shoes, then some ice cream, then jewellery and before you know it, it becomes a habit. It’s especially worse if whatever you’re shopping for wasn’t in your budget in the first place. You can guess what this ‘remedy’ does to your finances.

Sometimes you might not really feel like going to the shopping mall. This is where Online shopping is your alternative of choice. The power you feel when you check out and purchase your order is simply amazing.

It’s so exciting that you wouldn’t mind making a once harmless action to be a habit. You may have all that you need, but that’s not your aim for shopping.

You want to get away from the darn stress. How will it work out for you? With debt after debt and the inability to quit the habit, I’d say not so well.

The best way to fix this problem is by keeping yourself busy. Do so every time the unbearable shopping devil wants to pop up. Go for a walk.

Listen to some music. Talk to someone. Expressing your frustrations is one of the best ways of recovering from stress.

If possible, stay away from shopping sprees for a while, until you’ve pulled yourself together. After work, go home and just relax in whichever way that suits you.

2. Eating More Becomes a Way of Life

The body has a way of finding a solution for every problem we face, especially stress. It’s no wonder that most people turn to their fridge when things get tough at the office. The brain signals the body to eat, at most times more than what it can handle.

Overeating when under stress isn’t good for your pocket and it isn’t good for your health as well either. Eating when you’re stressed seems okay the first time, but when it becomes a habit, that’s a cause of worry.

You might choose to eat at home or out and most people prefer eating out. Others order a pizza or fries, a burger and a coke. The thought of going to the kitchen and fixing up something seems almost impossible to do.

Some people bring treats to the office. Chocolate bars and ice cream are common junk foods that people munch on most.

If not dealt with, eating your way out of stress will cause obesity, not to mention a strain in your finances, especially if you eat at some fancy restaurant. The pressure hits hardest if you have a family to feed.

Can you deal with this? Absolutely not. And you don’t need a specialist to tell you to stay away from food to escape the temptation.

Just delay the need to act on your urge. Constant practice trains the brain and body to cope without meals and snacks. The need to eat uncontrollably will pass eventually.

3. Drinking More Coffee than you Need

Drinking coffee might not seem to be expensive (unless you take it at Starbucks), but have you ever been curious about the amount of coffee excessive coffee drinkers take?

From a latte or coffee when they wake up, a to-go on their way to work, some at the office and more before going to bed, that’s a lot of coffee. It’s no doubt that they spend so much money on the beverage.

Research shows that coffee, when taken in small amounts, helps in reducing cortisol. This is the hormone that’s released in times of stress.

Experts recommend taking 3 cups of coffee per day. Chugging cup after cup of coffee can boost your mood and make you relax.

Sounds cool, huh? Well, as much as it does, it isn’t. Ironically, coffee increases stress when drunk in large amounts.

Apart from causing stress, coffee does have other downsides. Here are some ways that drinking excessive coffee can be harmful to your health:

It Affects the Stomach and Small Intestine

Coffee contains caffeine. Caffeine is a compound that can irritate the lining of the small intestine as well as your tummy. If you’ve got conditions such as ulcers and Crohn’s disease, taking it should be a big no.

It Promotes Fast Passing of Food to the Small Intestines

Excessive coffee affects digestion. It causes food to pass on to the small intestines before nutrients get into the body.

It Stimulates Production of HCL

When taken before breakfast, coffee promotes HCL secretion. It’s a problem because HCL contributes to food digestion.

4. It Decreases Productivity

Stress puts so much pressure on you that it makes you feel weak, lazy and in extreme cases, dizzy. When you’re so stressed out, waking up in the morning and going to work doesn’t seem necessary.

If you make it to the office, you realise that there’s not much that you can do. Work seems like a burden, suddenly. You want to lay your head on the desk and nap.

You’re easily distracted and don’t care whether you lose your job or not. If you have a family, it suffers the most when the worst happens and you lose your job.

The same behaviour happens at home. Stuff that you’d ordinarily do in a couple of minutes take you forever to do. Most times, you lie in bed and sleep the entire day away.

Of course, not taking care of your home causes it to fall apart but you could choose to hire a housekeeper to keep things in order or pay for replacements and repairs of items in your home.

No matter how hard you try, stress isn’t something that gets better when you sulk and pout. You have to take the necessary steps. If you’re living alone, visit a friend and spend some time with them. Hanging out with family or friends helps out too.

Experts have proven that surrounding yourself with the right friends makes you happier. They can cheer you up or motivate you. They’ll help you get back on track. It’s far better than wrecking your life, don’t you think?

5. More And More Medical Bills

Frequent trips to the doctor are something that you should expect if you’re a victim of stress. It has a way of destroying the body, sometimes in a manner that’s not completely obvious.

Its effects are different on various people. They feel the effect based on the level of stress they’re experiencing.

And how they cope with it. Some suffer from migraines; others get exhausted and irritable. Others get ulcers and experience obesity. The effects are countless.

If you don’t have health insurance, you’re most likely to feel the pain more. Having insurance doesn’t mean that you’re safe, though.

Every insurance covers an individual to a certain level. Once you hit that level, debts will accumulate if you can’t clear the medical costs.

It gets worse if you’re suffering from more than one complication. Stress is a universal threat. The key lies in how you handle it. There are simple ways to deal with stress that don’t involve money. Some of them are:

Exercising

Sitting behind a computer the whole day can make you feel drained. The body feels dormant. Make as much time as possible to stretch your muscles and limbs. You can achieve this at work too. Instead of taking the elevator, why not use the stairs?

Find out What Stresses You

It could be your job, relationships, your children or your finances. This helps you to know how to handle it.

Create Some You Time

Dedicating yourself to your family or job is great. But, having some time for yourself is better. Take this time you’ve created to do stuff that you love.

It could be reading, chilling at the park, playing video games or taking a nap. Even if it’s an hour a day, spoiling yourself can make all the difference.

Laugh

Even if you don’t feel like it, let out hearty laughter. Or, smile at least. Laughter helps in easing tension and makes your mood better. It’s a proven way to kick stress out.

Write Down What’s Bothering You

Don’t worry about how fluent you are. If you want a fast method to release some stress, have a journal. You can scribble down whatever it is that’s bothering you.

Meditate

Close your eyes and sit in a quiet room. Relax and get in touch with your inner self. Breathe in and out deeply and enjoy the silence.

6. Alcohol Becomes a Best Friend

Most people turn to alcohol when they’re experiencing stress. It’s one of the most common ways of bouncing up after hitting the ground hard.

It relaxes the mind, pretty much like coffee, and brings about a false sense of peace. This is what people under stress look for. Forget the hangover and double problems that come the day after a night out at the club.

In the beginning, a glass of alcohol does the trick. After constant drinking, a glass isn’t enough. Your body craves for more booze and saying no to it is impossible. You’re ready to do all it takes to have as much alcohol as you probably can.

Specialists recommend four glasses of alcohol in a day for men and 3 for women. Anything above this is a total no-no.  Also, your finances and health are at risk.

Alcohol is an expensive drink. A bottle of it costs as high as $40. Let’s say you’ve had 4 of these, after a hard day at work.

If you’re drinking in a bar, getting home would be a problem since you’re drunk. Driving yourself home is a no-no.

If you choose to hire an Uber to get you home, you’re likely to part with roughly $18. This also depends on where you’re from and where you live.

By the time you sober up, you’ll realise that you’d spent so much on alcohol in less than a day. That should be motivation enough to kick out the habit and turn over a new leaf.

Unlike emotional eating or excessive shopping, addiction to alcohol is deeper. It needs more work. To get out of it, go for rehab, join an Alcoholics Anonymous group or talk to a specialist.

7. Splashing Money on Relaxing Methods

There are many ways to relax after a hard day at work. Some are harmless, like sitting at home and watching TV. Others are outright expensive, like getting a manicure or pedicure with a hefty price tag tag. Some push it and go to a spa that cost an arm and a leg.

As much as relax methods like massage have a super effect, they have some drawbacks.   Here are some of them.

First, massages aren’t for everyone. If you’re pregnant, in your periods or an alcoholic, you aren’t advised to go for one.

Second, it could injure you. This is usually the case if you undergo the wrong kind or if your masseuse is a quack. When the masseuse destroys the nerves beneath the muscles, these nerves can’t re-grow. In a nutshell, frequent massages are a health risk.

Third, a massage takes a lot of your time. Even if you go for one after work, are you ready to spend an hour or two on a table as a masseuse kneads your body? I don’t think so. It’s worse if you go for one during lunch break at work. You could lose your job.

Fourth, if you’re a sensitive person, stripping partially or entirely to get your massage may not work for you. It’s a requirement if you want to enjoy the session. You’re spending cash, so it’s only fair that you enjoy the experience.

Speaking of cash, do you know that the average cost of a massage is between $50 to $200 per session? Think for a minute how much you would spend if you go for a session every day. Going for it once in a while is alright, but making it part of your life, that’s where the problem creeps in.

8. You Make Regular Trips to the Counselor’s Office

Maybe you’re not a people person, and you live alone. You’ve decided to try out counselling for one reason or the other.

Counsellors are one of the most valuable people in the world. The help they give is so precious. No wonder they don’t offer free services. Some are quite costly and feed on the needs of their clients.

There are many factors to consider since constant visits to the counselor’s office can affect your finances. Here’s is what you should keep in mind:

Where You’re From

If you’re from the rural areas, you’re less likely to pay so much. Counsellors from here charge affordably to accommodate their clients. However, if you’re from the big city, it’s an undeniable fact that you’ll chuck out more.

How Experienced the Counselor Is

Counselors with many credentials charge more. They do so because of their experience. Before going for therapy, it’s wise to ask the counsellor how much they’re charging. This helps you to be financially prepared.

Do they offer Sliding Scale Therapy?

If you’ve got a low-paying job, or have no insurance, seeing a counsellor who provides this kind of therapy is essential. It’s a type of treatment where a counsellor uses a fee structure to determine how much you’ll pay, based on how much you earn.

Frequency Of The Session

Counselors who offer flexible scheduling are a great choice. This is especially true if you’re straining financially. You can agree with them how often you’ll be showing up. They might decide to see you once on every other week or give you half a session instead of an entire one.

Though there’s no exact amount that a counsellor should charge, the above factors show that overspending is possible.

9. Gambling 

You may have the cash, so making more money might not be your sole reason for going into a casino or club to gamble.

It’s to get that mood boost and self-esteem that comes when you gamble and win more cash. Before you can pull yourself together, you realise that it’s become a part of you. Everything else might not matter at that time.

Gamblers often look at one side of gambling. They don’t consider what would happen if they lose their money. Or when they get addicted to it.

Excessive gambling affects gamblers in that, instead of being a stress killer, becomes a stress builder. Check out these ways that gambling does more harm than good to your life.

Most gamblers take lousy care of themselves. They don’t have the time to shower, eat right or concentrate on other areas of their lives. This often leads to embarrassment and isolation.

If they have a family, they neglect it. Anytime they’re free they head to the club and splurge money. Any confrontation from their spouse or children could get ugly. They could face a divorce, or lose custody over their kids eventually.

Gambling takes a toll on them since it requires repetition. They get frequent headaches and suffer from insomnia. Additionally, they may experience some back and neck issues.

The amount of cash wasted on gambling is uncountable. Once it all runs out, a gambler has no option but to take loans with the hop of repaying them.

Since it’s not a guarantee, they end up losing their jobs, struggle with debt and come face to face with bankruptcy.

You Can Handle Stress in a Cash-Free Way

Stress was there before and will always be there for as long as we live. It may sound depressing, but that’s the downright truth. The good news is, you have the ability to control it.

Just as you managed to cope with the changes you’ve undergone in your life, you could do the same to minimize stress.

If you’re addicted to coffee, alcohol, shopping or whichever other vice and you wish to stop, there’s hope for you

Don’t waste your cash trying to make it go away when it’s here to stay. You work so hard for your money. Besides, trying to treat stress leaves you frustrated, broke and unhealthy.

Consider facing your stress head-on. You don’t have to struggle with it, and yet it could be something very manageable. Use the tips in the article above to make a change in your life and finances. Should push come to shove, getting the professional help that you very well deserve would be a smart move.

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