Debt Stress: Managing the Load

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debt stressThe average American household with debt owes $132,158. And credit card debt accounts for $15,675 of that.

Little wonder that money worries are a major cause of stress.

The Link Between Stress and Health

Humans have an innate response called “flight or fight.” It is nature’s way of launching our bodies into action; consider the physical responses we feel during moments of stress—faster heartbeat, accelerated breathing, tightening of muscles, and increase in sweating.

These are response mechanisms that prepared our ancestors to run from, or confront, a danger on the savanna. But they can be less useful in more modern times.

In the short term, stress can manifest itself in physical symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, an upset stomach, and general irritability.

These brief episodes of stress usually do not cause lasting harm to personal health.

However, debt—and the stress it causes—is typically a persistent problem. If your stress system stays activated over longer periods of time, it can lead to serious health problems, such as obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.

Managing Stress and Debt

If you are experiencing debt-related stress, you should consider attacking the root of the problem. Generally, it takes time to work down debt, but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage the stress during the interim period.

Developing a strategy to eliminate your debt is the first step to lowering stress, since the sense of control that a strategy gives you might furnish you with hope and optimism.

It’s also important that you keep your debt worries in perspective. Remind yourself that debt may not permanently ruin your life. Writing in a journal can be helpful as an outlet to the worried thoughts that can cycle endlessly through your mind. Seek social support—knowing that family and friends are in your corner can be a great source of strength.

Finally, find time for laughter and extending small kindnesses—each unleashes wonderfully positive chemical reactions that are good for the soul and the body.

Disclaimer

*These views should not be construed as investment advice. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * This newsletter was prepared in whole or in part by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with Skygate Financial Group. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. * Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

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