The Shackless of Debt

7 Ways to Cope With Money Worries

woman crying with her head in her hands

Money worries are some of the biggest sources of stress for people. 

A 2019 study by Perkbox revealed that 61% of people find money to be a source of stress. A further 27% of respondents said they worry about money every single day. 

This article will speak about the relationship between money, stress and mental health. It will also provide a range of strategies you can use to alleviate the stress caused by money.

Money Worries, Physical and Mental Health

Anyone can experience money stress, But factors such as Ethnicity, zero hour contracts, debt, the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment and single parenthood can make people vulnerable to money insecurity.

A lack of financial security can lead to poor mental and  physical health.

For example, If you don’t know how you’re going to pay the bills or how you’ll feed your family, it can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Your heart may skip a beat every time the phone rings. You might dread receiving post because of debt letters. 

Furthermore, you might shut down; become insular and secretive. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

Money worries also adversely affect your physical health. People’s weight might fluctuate as a result of comfort eating or not eating at all. They also might oversleep or suffer from insomnia. 

In fact, the blood pressure of people in debt has been shown to be 1.3% higher than those who aren’t in debt.

Other physical health symptoms reported by people who are in debt include: Headaches, back pain, stomach ulcers and severe anxiety.

Money Worries can Exacerbate Pre-Existing Mental Health Problems

Pre-existing mental health problems can be worsened by money stress.

For example,  If someone has anxiety, they may be too anxious to open creditor letters, attend benefits assessments or to talk to their bank. 

If someone is going through depression, they may lack the motivation to manage their finances. They might also stop working and fall behind on rent and utility bills.

If someone has  Bipolar Affective Disorder, they may go through manic phases, where their mood is amplified. As a result, they may make irrational financial decisions. Decisions such as making unwise investments, buying extravagant items or  gambling excessively.

Worrying about money can lead to suicide. In the UK, 100,000 people who are in debt attempt suicide every year.

I know all too well what this feels like. When I was in debt, I struggled with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Although I’m now debt-free and on the other side, my heart goes out to anyone that is currently having those feelings. 

Related: How Debt Affects Your Mental Health

How to Cope With Money Worries

There are 7 practical steps you can take in order to alleviate money worries.

1. Face the Problem Head On and Create a Budget

Instead of ignoring calls from creditors or hiding debt letters, take the calls and open those letters. You should also analyse your bank statements to see how you’re spending your money. Knowing what the problem is is the first step to addressing it.

If you don’t have one already, create a budget. The budget allows you to see your income and outgoings. If you already have a budget, review it; see what you can cut in order to save money.

2. Take Care of Your Physical Health 

You should speak to your GP because they can provide medication or refer you to a counselling service.

Exercising and meditation are also hugely beneficial. The exercise boosts endorphins and  helps to get rid of the cortisol in your body. 

Meditating, even for as little as 10 minutes a day can clear the mind of negative thoughts. Meditation has also shown to be effective in reducing blood pressure and improving focus.

3. Speak to Creditors

All creditors want is to get their money back. As daunting as it may sound, speaking to them, can benefit you in a number of ways. 

You may be able to arrange payment plans, arrange delays, extensions, balance transfers, pause or lower interest rates. Token payments can also be offered.

When I was in debt, there was a point where I was only paying £1 a month towards each of the debts. So go ahead, speak to them – you may be surprised by the outcome.

4. Get onto Benefits

Some may disagree with this point. But you may be eligible to receive support from the government through the benefits system when experiencing hardship.

According to the Guardian, 4.6 million people claimed Universal Credit during the coronavirus pandemic. The figure represents a third of all claims that have ever been made for the benefit. 

There is no shame in claiming benefits, especially if you need them. 

In the UK, there are a number of benefits you can claim, such as: Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Find out about what you may be eligible to claim here.

5. Seek free Debt Advice 

Organisations such as  The Money Advice Service, Citizens Advice, StepChange and PayPlan provide free, impartial advice. I sought advice from Payplan and Stepchange when I was in debt.

6. Educate Yourself About Money

A large majority of people aren’t taught financial literacy at school. The lack of financial literacy can result in money mistakes. You should educate yourself about fundamental principles of financial literacy, such as income, debt, savings, interest rates and investing.

7. Earn Extra Income.

The first step is to analyse skills and resources you currently possess and think about ways to utilise them to earn extra income.

If you have a car or bike, you can start delivering for Amazon, Deliveroo or JustEat . Possessing a particular skill can allow you to use platforms such as Fiverr to offer your services worldwide. 

Furthermore, you can sell items through ecommerce platforms such as Etsy, Shopify, Ebay and many more. 


There is a relationship between money and stress. Stress can negatively impact physical health. Conversely, pre-existing mental health issues can be enhanced by stress. There are several practical ways in which this can be addressed.

Has money ever been a source of stress for you?

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