The high cost of financial anxiety
Author of Practical Steps to Financial Independence, business and finance coach, Mr Usiere Uko, writes on societal pressure and the arrival syndrome
Financial anxiety is an avoidable load we often carry around. It can take over your whole life, both your waking hours and even invade your dreams. Worry is mental malpractice. You are expending mental energy over a situation you have no control over. The more you worry, the bigger the problem seems which feeds into your worry making it worse.
For most of us, the default solution to our money problems is to borrow from family or friends. Borrowing to pay bills digs a deeper hole. It essentially means you have debt hanging over your neck the next time the next bill is due.
You cannot think well
When worry and anxiety consume your mind, you cannot think clearly. No amount of worry or anxiety can solve your problems, financial or otherwise. You are simply making matters worse. One good idea may be what you need to solve your problem. That good idea will not come if your mind is not at rest. Worry and anxiety degrade your ability to think straight.
When your mind is tied down by worry and anxiety, you are essentially shooting yourself in the foot. It is self-sabotage. You need to think clearly. To do this, you need to learn how to take your mind off your problems and focus on the solutions.
Letting go of your troubles can be scary. The mere thought that you are not worrying about it scares you. It is as if the situation will get worse if your trouble is left alone for a while.
Stop and think for a moment.
What difference does it make if you worry or not?
What have you to show for so many decades of worry and anxiety?
Of what use is your premature grey hair?
If something is not working, why keep doing it?
You cannot pray or meditate
If you are a spiritual person, you understand the power of prayer and meditation. When your mind is consumed with worry and anxiety, prayer and meditation will not cross your mind at all. Even when it does, you cannot settle down to be present at the moment to do it effectively as your mind will be somewhere else. You simply go through the motions – go in with your worry and anxiety and go out to continue with it.
Amid life issues, we often forget that we are not alone. We have access to divine inspiration to show us the way out. Even when the way is not obvious, we have the peace and reassurance that everything will turn out okay.
There is always a way out. Even in the unlikely event that the sky comes down on your head, you will not die. You simply pick up the pieces and move on. I see people panic when bills or debts become overdue as if God is dead and their case is hopeless. As long as you are dealing with a human being, you can always work something out. There is no challenge you face that nobody else has not faced and came out okay. The fact that you are down today does not mean that you will not rise tomorrow.
You don’t seek the right advice.
The fact that you can’t seem to figure the way out does not mean there is no solution. Sometimes the solution is staring you in the face, and you need a fresh pair of eyes to point it out to you. However, to benefit from good advice, you need to be humble and teachable. If you are set in your ways, you will become stuck in the mud you dug yourself in.
I know of people that say their children will go to a public school over their dead body. They would rather die in their financial anxiety or become the neighbourhood nuisance – owing every Tom, Dick and Harry rather than eat the humble pie and cut their coat according to their cloth, not their overblown size.
If you have challenges paying your rent, move to a cheaper apartment. If you have challenges paying your children’s school fee, move to a cheaper school. Stepping down is not permanent. There is nothing shameful about the fact that you can no longer afford it. Rather than kill yourself with financial anxiety in other to keep up appearances, have mercy on yourself and move to where you will have peace of mind.
If you are already neck deep in debt, there are many resources available to help. You can also approach your creditor, come clean and work out a repayment plan that works for both of you. That may involve cutting waste in other areas to meet your repayment obligations. If you keep to your word, some creditors do grant some measure of debt forgiveness.
You don’t solve your problems by running away. Engaging constructively puts you in a better place to get the issue resolved.
Your relationships will suffer
Love is sweet when you have money in your pocket. Constantly professing love without spending on the loved one wears thin after a while. Matters become worse when bills become overdue and services are cut – e.g. electricity, cable TV and other perks like eating out, gifts for the children etc.
Temper starts to flare and things that were not an issue before starts to become an issue. The frequency of quarrels start to go up, and the home starts to feel like a guest house with roommates. The interesting thing is that the people you got into trouble trying to please are the same people that attack you for putting the family in such a precarious financial situation. As a man, you may start to doubt your ability to provide for your family.
The price is too high
If you look at the price you pay for mismanaging your money, it is too high a price to pay. It could even be fatal in the situation of a medical emergency where you don’t have the funds to pay to commence treatment. The people you are trying to impress have no clue what you are going through in the process of impressing them. What people think about you is a perishable item. Nobody remembers how impressed they were of you a year ago.
Financial worry and anxiety are self-inflicted and they are avoidable. Life is a marathon, not a hundred-metre dash.
For questions or comments email email@example.com; to order the book PSFFI, call or SMS to 0808 275 0980. Visit www.financialfreedominspiration.com. Follow me on twitter @usiere