If you’ve ever had trouble with money, you know the negative effects go way beyond an empty bank account or wallet. The burden of debt can cause emotional and physical symptoms and lead to increased levels of stress. Stress is a culmination of frustrations that creep up at once, often without any observable or obvious signs. It can arise from anything in life that’s off kilter or not what we would hope for or expect. Headaches, body pains and irritability are just some of the symptoms caused by stress. But before you get overwhelmed with your debt situation, take a step back and consider the bigger picture.
For many people, the slow progress of debt reduction can be discouraging. But before you question whether
you will ever succeed in your efforts and throw in the towel to go back to your old ways, consider the story of the tortoise and the hare and how slow and methodical wins the day – the same applies to reducing debt.
Pinpoint the Real Issue
Until you examine the specific reason for feeling frustrated about your financial situation, you may simply write it off as stress over the amount of debt you have, when the actual issue may be more specific. You may be surprised at how much relief comes by acknowledging the real issue weighing on your mind. Here are a few common emotions that underlie the stress you feel over your situation.
- Overwhelmed by the Number
- Frustrated by Slow Progress
- Ashamed by Late or Missed Payments
- Disappointed that something is Out-of-Reach
Change your Perspective
Looking at your situation from all angles will open up opportunities for change. Focus on the progress you’ve made and thoughtfully consider the following questions and solutions to lessen the stress of debt.
- Are you backsliding? If you’re spending as fast as you’re paying on your debt, you’re basically standing still. Stop the madness and get serious about making a debt reduction plan that you can stick to. Acknowledge Take pride in the fact that you’re doing the best you can to pay off your own debt.
- Is your debt goal unrealistic? Self-imposed anxiety is when you set a goal that is unattainable. Avoid comparing yourself to others who may be sacrificing in ways that are not obvious. Reassess your debt payment plan, dig in your heels and watch the slow, but consistent, progress of your persistence. Whenever possible, pay a little extra to speed up the process. Plug your current debt and payment amounts into a debt payment calculator to give you a better picture.
- Will you commit to making your life better? This is a commitment to yourself – no one else will make you accountable. But rewards will be reaped in years to come with a healthy credit history.
- Are you willing to be patient? Anything worth having is worth waiting for. It takes years to get into deep debt and will take at least as long to recover. Your wish list needs to be put on the back burner while you focus your full attention on solving your debt problem. Keep in mind the reasons you want to lower your debt – college for the kids or a comfortable retirement.
One iota of worry will not bring you one step closer to being debt free. After you’ve paid the month’s bills, find a way to escape – go see an action flick, read an adventure novel, listen to upbeat music, engage in your favorite hobby. You may come away with new ideas to cut spending to help pay your debt off sooner.
Press on to overcome discouragement. Don’t allow feelings of frustration defeat your pursuit of a debt-free goal. Recommit yourself to your debt repayment plan and look forward to finally paying your debt in full.
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