A sick nauseous feeling begins to take over. Not quite ready to vomit, but your stomach is teetering on the brink of disaster. A dull throb pulsates in your head with every heartbeat. Maybe even a sharp pain in the neck area. Loneliness, isolation, and a burning sensation to run away sets in. Where? It doesn’t really matter. Anywhere to escape the pain. Does this sound familiar every time you pass that stack of unpaid bills? Here at Advocate Debt Relief, we understand how debt can negatively impact your life.
Be Aware of the Signs
One of the leading causes of stress is debt. Whether we want to admit it or not, there are significant impacts debt stress has on our health. All too often, many of us want to ignore the signs that can lead to crippling health effects. Step one is acknowledging that debt is stressful and how stress manifests inside our body.
Behaviors are key indicators that action might be required to manage the situation. A common anxiety induced behavior is either overeating or underrating. Let’s face it, they don’t call it comfort food because it doesn’t taste good. The reverse effect is that acidy feeling in the stomach area makes the thought of food repulsive all together. Neither one is good for us long term.
Many of our changes in behavior can seem subtle at first, but paying attention can help identify when to act. Other discrete ways our body might be telling us to intervene are:
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Less exercise than usual
- Social withdrawal
- Out of character short temper
The Debt Spiral
When we’re stressed, our brain cannot think clearly. According to Dr. Kerry Ressler, chief scientific officer at McLean Hospital and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “Studies in both animals and people show pretty clearly that stress can affect how the brain functions.” If the signs of our debt stress go ignored, we find ourselves making mistakes that only exacerbate our situation.
In the search for an escape from the debt stress, we might make the all too common mistake of paying one credit card with another one. On the surface this might buy some time, but it’s a sure way to stay in debt long term.
Debt collectors can be relentless. Every time the phone rings you might find yourself checking to see if the number is recognizable. To avoid a difficult conversation that triggers the debt stress, those calls wind up going directly to voicemail. The longer that debt gets ignored, the more damage you could be doing to your situation.
Take the Reigns
The single greatest tool in dealing with stress is confidence. Although it can be difficult to find when you feel like you’re drowning in debt, there are small steps that can help you build your financial confidence and take control.
Design a budget
Start with creating a sustainable budget. Take an inventory of all incoming and outgoing expenses. Something as simple as a side-by-side list of each can highlight problems hidden in plain sight. Not only can this be a simple way to eliminate whimsical expenses, it refocuses that debt stress on solutions over unhealthy distractions.
Know the differences in debt
In the spirit of taking inventory of debt expenses, assess your unsecured and secured debt. Unsecured debt means that the lender has nothing to take possession of to get the money owed. Examples of this kind of debt are personal loans, student loans, medical loans, and credit cards. A simple discussion with these types of creditors can lead to a manageable payment plan or reduce the debt all together.
Secured debt has collateral that can be taken back to recoup money owed. A car or house in the form of auto loans, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and home equity loans fall under secured debt. Prioritize these payments to keep those items in your possession.
Consult a Professional
How to move forward from debt, even after a solid assessment of the situation, can be tricky. We don’t know what we don’t know and our options can seem unclear. A debt relief company can help sort out the difficult details and set you up for financial success.
When working with a debt relief company, they can help with a number of options. All of them have pros and cons, but working with a company that specializes in maximizing your results can make all the difference. Among the top debt relief options are:
- Debt settlement
- Credit counseling
- Debt consolidation
- DIY (Do it yourself)
Regardless of the path you choose, a debt relief company can deepen your understanding of the best option. Ultimately, it’ll give you the confidence you need to move forward and start to dissolve the debt stress.
Peace of mind is paramount in our increasingly busy world. Debt related stress doesn’t have to make you sick. The power to change the situation is in your hands. A small first step could very well lead to the financial freedom that creates a healthier future.