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How Financial, Physical, and Mental Health Affect Each Other



Our wallet, waist, and brain seem to be connected and financial wellbeing, how much debt a person has, for example, can affect physical and mental health. The financial concerns of today’s Americans are affecting their performance at work as well as their physical and psychological health. University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business professor Carrie Leana explains that money worries are a burden increasingly shared by many Americans. Regardless of wages, they may struggle to make ends meet or find themselves an emergency away from financial disaster. In turn, this is costing employers in lost productivity and employee absences.

In our post on ‘Why Emotional Well-Being Matters in the Workplace’ we described how companies spend an estimated $80 billion to $100 billion each year on costs due to employee mental health issues. Many times, these have to do with debt worry and other financial matters. In fact, almost half of the U.S. workforce is coping with financial stress, which leads to numerous health issues. Those with chronic financial worries are nearly 3.5 times more likely to experience anxiety and 4 times more likely to suffer from depression. This is why wealth care is just as important as health care.

Debt-related anxiety can be due to a lack of support from creditors and surrounding family, friends and employers. And this isn’t just a problem that’s facing people in the U.S. In the UK, the Mental Health Foundation reported how debt is a considerable burden and causes people to flee or deny their conflict. Especially when there is no one to talk to they get into a cycle of avoidance. A Marcus post on ‘The Link Between Physical and Financial Health’ quoted psychologist Dr. Mary Gresham as saying “Many people who are deeply anxious about money will handle that anxiety with avoidance. Unfortunately, their avoidance increases their anxiety and then they want to avoid even more.” This, in turn, can lead to loss of sleep, which can also have a negative effect and other detrimental psychosomatic symptoms.


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Financial worries and stresses are also made worse around this time of the year when the holiday season is upon us. While many associate the holidays with positive experiences, the truth is that, travel, commuting, family and finances, in particular, are huge stressors. In a WBFO post titled ‘Financial Stress During Holiday Season a Mental Health Concern’ psychiatrist and author, Suvrat Bhargave explains that financial stress is linked with a higher rate of migraine headaches, and more cardiovascular disease. Additionally, he adds, there’s a higher risk of metabolic syndromes like diabetes and strokes.

So, how do you stop the insanity? First and foremost, take steps to improve your mental health, which will subsequently lead you to think more clearly and help you improve your financial health as well. Taking care of your body with enough sleep, nutrition, and exercise, and talking to supportive people can help to greatly improve your psychological health. Remember, self-care is a necessity, not a luxury. If you are struggling to build mental strength you can opt for professional help. Talk to your doctor or a therapist who can help you identify strategies for feeling better fast. When it comes to your finances look into Debtors Anonymous, an organization that’s been around for 50 years and brings people who face financial struggles together. Don’t ignore the impact finances can have on your mental and physical health, taking steps to remedy them earlier rather than later will help improve your life.

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By Georgette Daniels

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