If your finances are stressing you out, you’re not alone.
While polls show the results of the last presidential election are weighing on people’s minds, money, work, and the economy are the top sources of stress in the U.S., the American Psychological Association reports in results of its latest Stress in America™ survey. Money was one of the most commonly mentioned personal stressors, with six in 10 people saying it's a "significant" source of stress.1
Anxiety over finances, relationships, illness, injury, or other challenges is enough to cause symptoms,1 including headaches, an upset stomach, a faster heartbeat, forgetfulness, and even colds.
But not all stress is bad.
There’s such a thing as good stress
Some level of anxiety can boost performance on the job by raising an employee’s interest and attention in the task at hand, research suggests. It’s when an employee feels too much stress that performance can start to suffer.2
The costs of bad stress
In a 2018 workplace survey by the American Psychological Association, 35 percent of working Americans reported experiencing chronic work stress.3 Reasons include everything from heavy workloads to low salaries.
That can eventually affect productivity and lead to higher costs for both employers and employees.
Although it’s natural for everyone to feel worried from time to time, chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression.
Someone with diabetes spends on average more than $13,000 on health care, with diabetes-related costs responsible for more than half the total, according to the most recent data available from the American Diabetes Association.
And the average extra annual cost of short-term disability for an obese employee versus a worker of normal weight is about $349, according to the American College of Occupational and Educational Medicine.
Fight the tension
Just 30 minutes of walking per day - or playing hoops, hula hooping, or hula dancing - can help you relieve tension and feel a little better, experts say. Plus, it will help you meet the American Heart Association’s recommended 150 minutes of activity per week to stay heart healthy.
Brice Chidester, an associate director of technology, said he makes time for exercise before days that he expects to be especially stressful.
“If I know that I’m heading for a busier-than-normal day, I make sure I exercise in the morning, as it seems to balance my brain a bit,” said Chidester, of Columbus, Ohio. “After exercising, I almost invariably feel more alert and relaxed.”
Denver journalist Joe Nguyen, who deals with daily deadline pressure, said he also will go to the gym to let off steam if he has time or “crank up something angry” on his headphones.
Laughter also can be good medicine. No joke. Researchers have found that laughing strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.4
Nancy Shah of New York said that when she was a consultant, her teams would take a minute to share funny quotes or watch funny videos to take the tension down a notch.
Yoga, deep breathing, tai chi, and meditation also can help you cope.
When competing priorities at work and home stress you out, take a step back and set reasonable goals of what you’ll tackle first. No one can do everything at once. Focus on what you can do right now, and work your way down the list.
If you feel overwhelmed by stress and are worried you might hurt yourself, there’s no shame in asking for help. Reach out. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Things to Consider:
• Do some physical exercise to help relieve tension.
• Laugh with friends, and boost your endorphins.
• Take a deep breath, and give yourself a break. You deserve it.
1 “Stress in AmericaTM 2019,” American Psychological Association, November 2019
2 “Are You Too Stressed to Be Productive? Or Not Stressed Enough?” Harvard Business Review, accessed February 2020
3 “2018 Work and Well-Being Survey,” American Psychological Association, June 2018
4 “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” HelpGuide, November 2019
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as insurance, securities, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.