Your debt may well be costing you more than just the interest you’re repaying! Research shows there’s a clear link between your financial health and your mental health, with some studies reporting a higher risk of mental health problems amongst people who have debt. Having just acknowledged Mental Health Awareness week in October, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of maintaining good mental and financial health.
According to an annual report undertaken by the Australian Psychological Society, financial issues are rated as the top cause of stress. And, while the triggers of financial stress differ amongst individuals, five key themes have been identified: bad debt, home loans, retirement, supporting the family and budgeting.
Much of this research focused on the physical and psychological toll that money concerns can have on an individual, with clear links to mental and physical health issues, family breakdowns and even substance abuse. What's more, those researching financial stress say the issue is getting worse.
Better Mental Health
When focusing on the importance of good mental health, psychologist Zoe Slater outlines six action steps that everyone can take.
1. Be active – find an activity that makes you smile and laugh.
2. Keep learning - learning new stuff creates new neurological connections in the brain and is said to ward off conditions like Alzheimer’s.
3. Give – your time, your money or something you don’t use but others could.
4. Connect - connecting, feeling safe, listened to, understood and valued is part of group survival.
5. Take notice – slow down and observe your life and those around you.
6. Care for our planet – recycle, re-use and re-think how you can make a difference to our world.
Lastly, many people are not aware of the free financial counselling assistance available to them, but it’s important to know that there is help available should you need it.
And, even if you aren’t experiencing financial concerns at the moment, it’s a good idea to be mindful of both your mental and financial health. By simply recognising the link between debt and psychological distress, you can better monitor your financial health and your mental health.
If you’d like advice around your financial situation – be it debt consolidation or refinancing your mortgage - contact a Mortgage Express adviser.
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