Money worries are hard on the mind and the physical, but there are ways to put that stress under control.
Debt is a life stress that does not go away, according to Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist at Stanford University in the United States. “What is dangerous in the case of debts is their invasive and chronic aspect. Most of the events that stress us – car crash, divorce, death of a family member – happen once, and then happen to be behind us one day. Our bodies are designed to respond to this type of emergency and recover, while we can not completely escape the stress of being in debt. Studies show that people who have mortgages need more health care. “Debt is generally bad for our health: we worry about the amount of money, and we also feel we can not do anything about it,” says McGonigal. But studies of behavior and emotions and psychological studies of our financial decisions show that there are positive ways to manage and spend our money that help us reduce our stress. Here are some suggestions.
David Krueger, a former psychiatrist and finance coach in Houston, Texas, says that the way we use money is used to “talk” about us. “We give it meaning and it serves us every day to say things about the freedom or power it gives us, its perceived value or the justification of opportunities to spend. Now identify your superficial relationship to money, then dig a little to examine the other values you attribute to it. Ask yourself: why brand names are important to your image, why the idea of making more money keeps you awake at night? Examine your answers well; it is also a good idea to write them. This analysis will allow you to create at home the right mindset about money, which is the first step needed to achieve control over how you use it, says Krueger. “When you have reached the right state of mind, you can then develop a strategy to solve your problems. ”
“One of the relatively recent findings of the research is that people who are very stressed by their debt are getting more debt to feel over their business,” says Kelly McGonigal. Even if your credit cards are “full” (you have accumulated purchases), for example, you feel a sense of relief when you raise your credit limit or you get a new card. This is a short-term perception, not a long-term one. “It is true that you are engaging in more debt, but you also feel that you have more resources available, and that relieves a lot of people,” says Kelly McGonigal. Be aware of this illusion in the short term,
Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University, recently experimented with mental discipline. He found that the mental energy we exert on self-control has limits. In other words, your ability to control the need to spend (willpower vs. instant gratification) is waning, getting tired with use. But you can strengthen it and here’s how. “Write down all your daily expenses and, above all, add them up,” says Kelly McGonigal. By doing this, you exercise your “muscle” of self-control and you strengthen it, like a real muscle! ”
According to a study of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychologywe are more likely to buy expensive or credit items when our ego and self-esteem are at risk (whether it’s bad news on television or the loss of a promotion at work). “The economic explanation – people buy ostentatious goods because they want to give a positive message of themselves to others – has proved to be incomplete,” says study author Niro Sivanathan, who is Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, London Business School, UK. His research has shown that just buying a pricey item comforts the buyer. He and his colleagues have found a cure for this behavior. When study participants reflected on important values for them, such as family relationships, health and well-being,
It is a compensation phenomenon. This is essentially a tendency to buy more because you feel better about your debt. (A researcher who was studying diets called it the effect “what can it do?”) According to one study, the more we are overwhelmed by our debts, the more likely we are to buy for we feel better, says Kelly McGonigal. This is of course a vicious circle, because buyer’s remorse feeds stress. “It’s important to evaluate your reaction when you do something that goes against your financial goals. If you pay attention to the psychological factors that guide you (your emotional springs), you will be less likely to spend money than you do not have. ”