Millennials are reporting the highest levels of stress, anxiety, and depression according to Psychology Today.
A lot of stress comes from money. Pew Research reports that millennials, “Are also the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations (Gen Xers and Boomers) had at the same stage of their life cycles.”
U.S. Census reports that 40% of people unemployed are millennials.
Managing money isn’t something you can escape. You need money to pay for rent, electricity, for clothes, and to eat.
Money allows us to do things we enjoy like travel, hang out with friends, or watch a movie. Money is a powerful tool that can be used to make a difference in the world. It funds research to cure cancer or can help provide clean water in third world countries.
Here are tips on how to stress less about money.
1. Evaluate if you’re stressing about money.
A sure sign of anxiety and stress is when you’re worrying non-stop about something, and you become a broken record stuck on the same track.
Do you have persistent thoughts that don’t go away, or irrational fears? Your thought may be, “How am I going to pay for my medical bill? I’m never going to get ahead.”
Check your physical symptoms.
Money stress becomes a real problem if it affects your ability to fall asleep, and you find yourself tossing and turning.
Or take note if when you pay a bill, do you feel nausea, or tense? Do you have a loss of appetite, or overeat? Anxiety can show up with other physical symptoms like cramping and bloating.
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2. Write down what specifically is stressing you.
With anxiety, you’re worrying about either what happened in the past, or what might happen in the future. Both are 100% unproductive. You can’t change what has happened in the past and thinking about tomorrow won’t help you today.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present aware of where you are and what you’re doing in the moment.
Instead of spending time worrying, simply pause, grab a notepad, and write out what exactly it is that you are worried about.
3. Evaluate what’s the worst that can possibly happen.
Your mind already spirals quickly down a negative path, so counter intuitively to stress less about money, write down what is the absolute worst-case scenario.
If you’re worried about losing your job, then the worst-case scenario is that you will lose your job, and if you aren’t able to keep up with your bills, then you’d get evicted or have to move in with friends of family.
The absolute worst-case scenario, and this is a stretch, is that you’ll have to live on the streets. That is the absolute worst thing that could happen, and it is also known as catastrophic thinking (like the sky is falling, kind-of-thinking!).
4. Accept the worst-case scenario.
Mentally accept the worst-case scenario. In this case, you’d accept the possibility that you could lose your job, and make major lifestyle adjustments, like moving.
5. Work to improve upon your worst-case scenario.
Stress less about money by writing down solutions to improve upon the absolute worst-case scenario. In this example, what can you do right now to prevent getting laid off, then unable to pay your bills, and then having to move out?
Right now, you can start setting money aside in case you do lose your job. You can also look for ways to cut your current expenses, like getting rid of your cable, or bringing in an extra income with a side hustle.
You can start taking on more responsibilities with your current job to show your value to the company or start looking for your next dream job by applying for new positions with other companies.
This is a process to stop stressing about money and it was adapted from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
Moral of the story: stop stressing about money and start doing!
P.S. Need help to stress less? Get a plan! Let’s work together with a one-on-one coaching session. Here’s the details.