On a scale of 1-5, how often do you worry about money?
(1 = never, 5 = always)
If you’re confident with your money moves, you might fall between 3-4. But most people we know? Their answer is: “lol – can I say 10?! I worry about money all the time!”
And we get it! In fact, money is the top cause of stress in the US. That was already true pre-COVID. Now that most people are facing additional financial stress? It’s no wonder we’re all feeling a bit panicked when it comes to finances.
The good news is: you don’t have to be on edge ALL the time.
Today, we’ll show you:
So you can enjoy your matcha frappuccino, stress-free!
👀: 5min read
Worry, anxious, concerned – these traits have a bad rep.
And it feels especially uncomfortable when these yucky feelings are tied to money, because financial security is such an essential human need.
But here’s the catch:
Worry is a natural response to uncertainty.
Evolutionarily, we’re wired for it. It’s how we survived the hunter-gatherer days. It’s why we have systems in our body that can cause us to fight, run, or “play dead” if we ever come across a lion looking for lunch.
It’s how we ensure we have a roof over our heads, enough money to pay our bills, a future nest egg (hi retirement) – the list goes on.
When this worry becomes chronic, we can get into trouble.
Financial anxiety is a real issue, and our mental health can plummet if we let it get out of hand. Sometimes, we need to plan and reflect. But definitely not all the time.
So, how can we avoid having our emotional well-being hijacked by financial stress?
We’ll cover that next.
"I have moments where the thought of the need for money overwhelms my entire system --- I’m a more time than money kind of gal. But then I’ll sit down, budget out where I’m at, calculate out what I need to find balance between having enough for the necessities with just a little fluff for freedom and boom: I’m back in the driver’s seat of this part of life and I feel LIGHT." - Penny Member
Anxiety lives in the past and future. Instead of problem-solving, you might get upset about what was (past), worry about what will be (future), or both.
This can be paralyzing. It prevents you from taking action.
To counter that, we cover 2 strategies you can apply to ease your money anxiety today.
(PS. We compiled a short list of smart money moves for you to tackle in the next section.)
Literally. Take 3 - 5 deep belly breaths.
Sounds silly, but breathing helps regulate the systems in your body that caused it to go haywire in the first place – thoughts included! It's an easy way to get your busy mind to relax into a more cool, collected, and confident state.
Best of all, it’s completely free. ;)
Now, onto the next step on how to stop money stress:
You don’t need to stop worrying about money. Like we said earlier, a little bit of worry is okay. It shows you care about your financial future. That’s a good thing.
What you DO need is to practice awareness of how, why, and when you experience anxiety when it comes to money.
Is it when you…
Notice it. Instead of aiming to erase these feelings, welcome them. Try to understand where they’re coming from.
Then, ask yourself:
It’s helpful to keep a journal, if you can. This way you can take notes, and catch any patterns of when you feel more or less triggered due to financial stress.
When you increase your awareness of when you’re in the worry cycle, what’s causing it, and what you can do to make it through, you’re able to break it.
Now, you might be wondering:
This last section’s got you covered.
"Money started bothering me less when I started equating it to the lifestyle that I wanted. How much do I need, what are my goals, how much extra do I like to have: okay let’s make sure we make just that. No more [if it means more work], no less. It’s a boundary." - Penny Member
Now that you’ve mastered the art of breathing and practicing awareness, it’s time to short-circuit the worry loop that money stress puts you in with these steps.
Worried you might fall off track?
Sign up for Penny. Penny’s your finance BFF who’s always there for your money FAQs. Learn at your own pace with easy online courses, use the smart calculators to plan your money moves, and rest easy knowing we’ve got your back.
FYI, we'd never judge you for saving up to buy those new shoes. We both know you earned it. ;)
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