In a country that runs on credit cards and is teeming with frivolous lawsuits, it’s not surprising to see a substantial majority of Americans in debt and depressed over their finances. The uncertainty over the government healthcare program, student loan issues, looming retirement, mortgages and credit card debts hound baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials, which is why more people are suffering from depression and anxiety than before.
Financial problems-induced depression cannot be overcome by medications and a bury-your-head-in-the-sand approach. Debts don’t go away because you ignore them. And taking pills will only add to your expenses, not pay for them. Alleviate your worries and despondency by taking concrete action.
Tips for fighting depression caused by financial problems:
Make a goal to pay off your debts within a specific timeframe.
Easier said than done. First, foster awareness and acceptance of the financial mess you’re in. This is the first step to goal-setting. Focus on yourself and don’t compare your situation with others. Mindfulness meditation is a good practice to begin, as it helps in creating awareness and becoming nonjudgmental. As you go along, you learn to develop compassion and gratitude, positive feelings that will help lift your depression and calm your anxious mind. Only then can you proceed to planning in a rational and practical manner.
Make a list of all your debts.
Make a written list of all your debts, except your mortgage. Don’t rely on a mental list only. On it, write down the minimum monthly payments required on each one. Keep paying the minimum for all debts to avoid nasty and threatening reminders of your due date. They will only add to your depression and anxiety. It will also keep your credit score in good standing. Then choose one debt that you will pay with the biggest amount you can afford, so you’ll have paid it in full sooner than if paying the minimum. Dave Ramsey recommends choosing the smallest debt, regardless of interest rate. Then you can crash it off your list of debts, serving as a motivator for paying off the others.
Monitor all your expenses for a month.
By keeping track of what you’re spending your money on, you’ll be able to differentiate between the needs and desires. Use a personal finance app to do this. Great apps are loaded with other features such as payment reminders and the funds available in your bank accounts. By knowing where your money goes, you’ll realize that you don’t really need a new pair of shoes or have that overpriced cappuccino every morning.
Create a realistic budget.
It’s common sense but a lot of people don’t make a budget. A monthly plan for spending will solve your miserable plight and prevent similar future situations. A budget will help you view your spending habits, encourage you to trim your non-essential expenses and focus on what’s important. Choose a ledger or template from many online resources and start your budgeting plan immediately.
Learn about saving, investing and creating other streams of income.
Grow your money to achieve your goals. They may include travels, retirement plans, a new car. If you’re now debt-free, put some money in safe schemes. Choose a savings plan that gives a bigger interest rate. Invest in stocks with large market capitalization. Although penny stocks have a good potential for quick returns and will solve your money problems faster, it’s advisable to get the help of professional traders as these types of stocks are risky.
Reach out to trusted family and friends for emotional support.
You will probably be embarrassed by your financial problems and allow depression to set in. Isolating yourself only increases your feelings of sadness and anxiety. Get the support of people you trust and confide in them. Their moral and psychological support is an immense help in cheering you up and is a motivator for you to do something about your predicament. Sympathetic friends and family hasten the recovery of your depressive state and encourage you to fix your financial woes.