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Financial burden

Debt and financial stress can shorten your life

Sunday, September 11, 2011 by: Elizabeth Walling
Tags: financial burden, stress, health news

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(NaturalNews) Every day we are bombarded by media reports about economic woes, national debt and unemployment. And the crisis really hits home when the bills arrive. Debt, money, and jobs are a huge source of stress these days. And while the problem may be genuine, stressing over it could be killing you.

When researchers in Finland interviewed more than 3,400 individuals and tested them for metabolic syndrome, it was found that those with symptoms of metabolic syndrome (like insulin resistance, high cholesterol and obesity) were more likely to have experienced stressful events during the previous year. Even more interesting: financial and work stress in particular appear to be linked to signs of metabolic syndrome.

Why does stress over finances and debt have such a profound impact on our health? Stressing about money triggers a powerful survival response in the body: the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are necessary in small doses on a daily basis to keep your heart beating and your lungs pumping -- they can even be life-saving in certain situations. But when these stress hormones are chronically elevated, it can lead to all sorts of health problems.

Specifically, chronic stress can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood sugar. It also impacts digestion, bone health, mood and many other aspects of our health.

So how do we overcome these life-threatening health problems? Drop the stress! Sure, this is easier said than done, but if you want to live a long and healthy life it must be done. While we don't always have a choice in the financial struggles that come our way, many factors are still under our control, and that is where you must focus your efforts:

1. Get out of debt. The bills won't stop coming until they are paid off. If you have the means, start paying off your debt one bill at a time. Tip: start with the smallest debts so you can gain some traction and feel like you're getting somewhere.

2. Stop the debt now! Maybe you aren't in a position to pay off your debt (and many aren't), but the next best thing is to stop adding to your debt as much as possible. Throw away the credit cards and make a habit of paying for things in cash.

3. Get real about your budget. In order to do the two things above, you may have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle. It helps to track where your money is going to see where you can improve. You may not live in the lap of luxury, but chances are there's some money slipping through your fingers every month. Use financial software or an old-fashioned pen and paper to figure out where your money is going. Then you'll see where changes can be made. Often it's less painful than you'd think.

4. Prioritize your health. Healthy living doesn't have to cost a fortune. Try any of these: take a daily walk outdoors, go to bed earlier, take a few minutes of downtime each day, call an old friend you haven't seen in a while, check out a good book at the library, make a few more home cooked meals each week, or soak in a hot bath after a stressful day.

5. Learn to let go. Stress can become a learned response. It takes practice to respond to situations without stress. Stress management techniques help you learn how to deal with stressful events and situations without letting them affect your health adversely.

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About the author:
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition and wellness. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more:

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