Donald C. Reutemann CFP®, RPA

(518) 688-2223

Lifestyle Read Time: 3 min

Debt Stress

The average American owes $52,940 in debt. Of that $52,940, $36,730 is from mortgage debt, $5,730 is from student loans, and $5,000 is from auto loans. Little wonder that money worries can be a major cause of stress.1

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 often a persistent problem. If your stress system stays activated over longer periods of time, it can lead to serious health problems, such as weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, headaches, and sleep problems.2

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.3

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.

1. BusinessInsider.com, May 25, 2021
2. MayoClinic.org, March 24, 2021
3. This is a hypothetical example used for illustrative purposes only. It is not representative of any specific debt-reduction strategy or approach.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

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