4 Steps to Deal with Financial Anxiety

4 Steps to Deal with Financial Anxiety

Introduction

I think it’s safe to say that at some point, we all will experience anxiety. And for a large portion of us, this anxiety might be tied to our money. Oxford Languages defines anxiety as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” When you look at this definition, it can be easy to see how anxiety around money occurs. After all, when it comes to our money things can often feel uncertain. In the United States, financial anxiety is common. According to CNBC, in 2023 77% of Americans surveyed reported feeling anxious about their financial situation. It’s important to acknowledge your financial anxiety when you feel it. But you also must work through it. Working through financial anxiety is something I help my clients with. And what I’ve found is that there are steps you can take to start the process and have success. Here are 4 steps to take when you’re ready to deal with your financial anxiety.

Take a Deep Breath

When you start feeling anxious, often your mind can spiral. These spirals can lead to more negative thoughts and self-talk. And before you know it, you’ve made the situation worse. As someone who deals with anxiety, I know there isn’t necessarily an easy way to “snap out of it”. But I’ve found that starting with a deep breath (or several) is a good place to start. If you find yourself dealing with financial anxiety, you want to try to deal with the situation as calmly as you can.

If deep breathing isn’t how you find your calm, that’s ok. Having been an athlete most of my life, running is high on my list of strategies to deal with anxiety. Run, dance, journal, meditate, do whatever works best to calm yourself down. But mostly, just make sure you aren’t letting yourself get lost in your money anxiety.

Look at What’s Really Going On

Once you are calm, the next step to take when you’re ready to deal with your financial anxiety is to look at what’s really going on. Often anxiety stems from incomplete or incorrect information. So, a good way to get on top of it is to look at the facts. When helping my clients deal with money anxiety, we look at what’s really going on in two steps. These two steps are easy and can help you get a handle on your situation.

Find Your Starting Point

The first thing you’ll want to do is determine where you are right now. This is different from creating a spending plan. When you are creating a spending plan you start by looking back. When you’re ready to deal with your financial anxiety, looking back can make things worse. Instead, start where you are. Look at your bank account and see what is available. Write it down. Then consider the source of your anxiety. If it’s a bill coming up, a debt, or an unexpected expense, write down what you know about it. How much do you owe? When is it due? Having the specifics can help defeat your anxiety because you will be operating on more complete information.

Look Ahead

Once you know where you are, it’s time to map out where you’re going. Look at the time between now and when the anxiety producing expense happens. Write down any other expenses you know you have coming up. Also write down any income that will come in. From here, you can start to plan. Determine how you’ll cover your upcoming bills and any other expenses soon. Mapping out how your money will be used can help you see any gaps. It can also help relieve your anxiety.

Remember, sometimes anxiety stems from incomplete information. So, giving yourself a more complete view of your current financial situation can be helpful as you work to deal with your financial anxiety.

Focus on Your Values

When you’re feeling anxious about your money, it might be time for a reset. The next step to take when you’re ready to deal with your financial anxiety is to shift your focus to your values. When your spending doesn’t line up with what you value, it can create anxiety. By spending money on things you don’t value, you are pulling your spending out of alignment with who you are. This can cause you to start feeling like you are lacking. Which in turn can crank up your anxiety. Instead, if you can focus on your values, you can shift your thinking and combat your anxiety at the same time.

Focusing on your values can also help you remember what is important to you. With social media, it’s so easy to see what others have and wonder if you should have it too. This comparison trap can lead to anxiety and scarcity mindset. If instead, you make your spending, saving, and investing decisions based on what matters most to you, you’ll know you’re on the right path. If you’re ready to refocus on your values, my blog post Creating a Values Based Budget in 5 Easy Steps can help you get started.

Get Support

You don’t have to deal with your money worries alone.

While all the 4 steps to take when you’re ready to deal with financial anxiety are important, step 4 might be the most important. If you are ready to deal with your financial anxiety, get support. You don’t have to deal with your money worries alone. Having a support person you can reach out to who can help you brainstorm solutions and keep on track is key. This person also might be able to be more objective and will bring a new perspective to the problems you’re facing. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member. Seek help from a mentor or religious leader you trust. Or find a financial coach, advisor, or counselor to talk to. Sometimes our problems feel smaller when we share them. If you are ready to deal with your financial anxiety and would like someone on your team, schedule a free 30-minute clarity call with me today to see if I’m the right fit for you.

A Few Things to Remember

If you are experiencing financial anxiety, first, know that you’re not alone. At some point or another we all experience it. That doesn’t make it easy, pleasant, or any less real. It just means that other people will get it. Once you’ve identified your financial anxiety, you can deal with it. Start with a deep breath. Calm yourself down in whatever way works best for you. And clear your mind. Then look at the facts and figures you’re dealing with. Remember, everything is scary until you turn on the light. While looking at the numbers might feel like it will only add to your anxiety, having all the key information will help. Once you know what you’re dealing with, refocus on your values. Cutting through the noise and focusing on what matters to you can help you move through your anxiety. And finally, if you need extra help, don’t hesitate to reach out. Remember, the longer you let your anxiety go, the bigger it can get. Taking these 4 steps to deal with our financial anxiety can help you start feeling better.

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