Are you feeling sick? Do you find yourself just sniffling away, coughing and sneezing? Unable to shake what should be a two-day head cold? The problem might not be germs, but what’s in your wallet.
There are plenty of money-centric benefits to lowering your financial stress, from increased savings to cutting out monthly debt payments, but we don’t often talk about the health benefits that go along with them.
Imagine if your heart didn’t race when you opened up your bills each month or got sick to your stomach thinking about your next mortgage payment.
While it’s easy to write these worries off as purely mental or emotional problems, they can cause serious physical problems over time. The latest research ties your health to your level of financial stress: Lower your level of financial stress, feel better.
Here are some of the major physical benefits researchers have linked to lower financial stress levels and how you can help your workers (not to mention you and your family) achieve them.
Feeling the symptoms
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress manifests itself in all sorts of ways: anxiety, heart disease, depression, headaches and problems with memory and concentration are all common symptoms. These can come from any kind of stress, but with so many Americans reporting elevated levels of financial stress, there’s a good chance your employees have felt sick and experienced these health issues because of their finances.
According to the American Psychological Association’s annual ‘Stress in America’ survey, ‘Money’ and ‘Work’ are the top causes of significant stress for adults-67 and 65 percent-and they’re seeing the effects on their health. More adults reported their health as being ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ in the past year than ever, 23 percent of adults, and there were increases in physical symptoms of stress and poor health as well, including chronic illnesses, high blood pressure, poor sleep, overeating habits and mental health concerns.
According to the survey, nearly one-third of adults claim that their stress has a strong or very strong impact on their physical and mental health, so when your employees face these symptoms they could have problems focusing, feel depressed or even face heart disease in part due to their inability to properly manage their finances.
So, imagine what happens when they lower their level of financial stress – whether by creating a budget that works for them or paying off a longstanding credit card debt – these physical symptoms might start to go away.
If you’re wondering whether you should offer help, consider this: If the choice is between seeing your employees healthy-both physically and financially-or hurting in these ways, the decision is simple.
Changing the system
Too often, we experience the physical symptoms of stress and think the only solution is to breathe deeply and find time to calm down. While dealing with stress in the moment is a good thing (and research shows daily meditation helps, “even a few minutes” according to the Mayo Clinic), it doesn’t solve the real issue: the underlying financial worries causing the stress.
We think financial stress is solvable and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do it. Maintaining a positive attitude while solving financial problems is tougher, and we’re sure your employees are doing what they can to keep focused and productive.
But that’s pretty tough, especially if you’re wondering whether you’ll have enough money to pay both the rent and the babysitter at the end of the month. So, without taking action to ease or eliminate their financial problems, the stress will keep coming back and cause more health harm in the long run.
As an employer, financial anxiety distracts your team, decreases retention and increases unexplained absences and health costs. If reducing financial stress also positively impacts these metrics, it’s well worth the time to figure out this piece of the puzzle.
Best Money Moves – helps reduce poor health outcomes caused by financial stress
If your employees are less financially stressed, they’ll experience fewer stress-related physical issues. This means your employees are more likely to be focused, productive and healthy overall, which translates to a more positive work environment. It also means they’ll have lower healthcare costs.
As an employer, you can help by encouraging your employees to not only find ways to manage their stress throughout the day but to eliminate it entirely. Best Money Moves is designed to guide your employees in targeting the areas which cause them the most stress and work to solve them.
You can also help in other ways. Encourage your workers to take advantage of their vacation days or lead by example. Keep an eye on how your own stress manifests itself and show empathy when your employees display similar signs. The more tools they have-and the more support they feel-the better chance your workers will have at lowering their financial stress and enjoying better physical health.