Rising prices may be hurting more than your wallet. Here’s how they may hurt your health.
Prices are rising, inflation is soaring and many people are finding it harder than ever to make ends meet. While these economic stressors impact our financial well-being, they may also be having a bigger effect than you realize on our overall health.
When you don’t feel financially secure, it can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Being concerned about how much money you have or how you’re going to pay your bills can be a major source of stress. This can leave you feeling anxious, irritated and on edge in the short term.
When you are continually stressed, your body feels like it’s constantly under attack so it releases cortisol and other stress hormones to keep you ready for a fight-or-flight response. This can put you at an increased risk for many health problems, since stress negatively affects:
- Your heart. Stress can increase your blood pressure. Over time, it may also lead to serious issues, such as heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Your sleep. When you don’t sleep well, it can impact your mood, your productivity and your safety. Not getting enough sleep regularly may also contribute to a variety of health problems.
- Your weight. You may eat more than usual, which can cause weight gain. Carrying extra weight increases your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
- Your body. Muscle tension and headaches are common in people with high levels of stress. You may also have digestive issues, which can make you feel uncomfortable or downright miserable.
- Your mood. Many people who deal with chronic stress find it affects their mental health. You may experience anxiety or depression.
- Your memory and concentration. When you spend your time worrying about money, it’s harder to concentrate on other things you need to do. This may impact your job and relationships.
Tips for Managing Financial Stress
While you can’t change the cost of life right now, you can change how you spend and save money. Doing so may lower your financial stress, which is good for your overall well-being.
- Make a budget. Now more than ever, it’s helpful to see where your money is going. Spend where you have to and skip the frivolous purchases to keep spending under control.
- Use less gas. With gas prices so high, it’s a good time to find ways to drive less. Carpool to work or take public transportation. Map out a plan that minimizes driving when running errands.
- Check your subscriptions. Many people sign up for subscriptions and then forget about them. Cancel anything you no longer use or that you don’t feel is a necessity.
- Eat at home more. Although the cost of groceries has skyrocketed, it’s still typically cheaper to eat at home than to go to a restaurant or get take out.
- Pay down debt. When you don’t pay your credit card bill in full, you accrue interest at a high rate. This can be very costly. Pay down balances as much as possible, starting with the cards that have the highest interest rates.
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Date Last Reviewed: November 18, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD