Anyone who is carrying a large debt load can attest to the financial worries they have to manage on a daily basis. There is the constant worry of how they are going to pay their bills; there is the conflict that often builds in relationships where debt and money are an issue. It’s not surprising to learn that debt stress is directly linked to anxiety disorders and clinical depression. But a new study shows that the implications of financial worries spread far beyond the mental.
A research study done by Brandeis University in Massachusetts shows that carrying a debt load makes you look older. The study found that the worry associated with finances accelerated the physical appearance associated with aging.
Some of the study findings include:
- They determined that stress in general ages people, which comes as no surprise. But what is interesting is that they found that stress specific to financial worry contributed more heavily to an aging appearance
- The study followed a group of people over a decade and found that people with high financial stress aged more quickly than those even with low level financial stress
- They found that this increase in aged appearance was due in part to the physical factors associated with financial stress and in part because people under financial distress were too distracted by debt to devote time to their appearance regularly
“It only takes a few sleepless nights to really start feeling the impact of financial stress. Although stress takes a serious toll on your mental health, it also takes a huge toll on your physical health. People commonly experience physical symptoms like stomach pains, nausea, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and dizziness and negative impact on their physical appearance, as this study shows,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada..
“You can reverse the physical and mental anguish by empowering yourself to take charge of your debt and by getting support for your physical and mental health,” says Schwartz.
If you are having your share of sleepless nights because of debt, here are a few tips on how to cope.
Debt is overwhelming
When you break a big problem into smaller steps, it’s not so overwhelming.
You need to develop a budget, along with a plan to conquer your debt. Realize that the road to mental, physical and financial health can be a long one, so you need to take it one day at a time.
Take care of yourself
As this study points out, people may not take care of themselves as well as they should if they are consumed with debt worry.
You may not have the budget to hit the spa, but there is a lot that you can do that will improve both your physical, mental and ultimately your financial health.
Make sure that you get enough sleep, and make room in your budget for healthy eating. Include exercise regularly- even if it is a walk down your street (which is free and stress-relieving).
Foster your friendships and relationships with your friends and family. They can help support you during these stressful times.
Are you suffering from debt stress? You don’t have to manage this alone. The first step is to reach out and develop a plan. Call one of our trained credit counsellors at or visit our free online debt analysis.