February is known as National Heart Health Month, and is therefore, the perfect time to contemplate overall heart health. Unfortunately, if you are like many Americans, thinking about your finances causes stress, which eventually negatively affects your heart health. Therefore, to promote greater heart health, it’s important to have healthy finances as well.
More on The Correlation Between Financial Stress and Heart Attack Risk
According to research published by Cardiovascular Business on heart attack patients by the South African Heart Association, if you are under significant financial stress, you are 13 times more likely to have a heart attack than someone without the same level of financial stress. Significant financial distress was defined in the study as stress caused by no income or inability to meet basic needs. Subjects who had an income but still worried about their financial situation were considered to have moderate stress. Those considered at low risk for heart attack were often experiencing no financial stress at the time of the study. This indicates a direct correlation between the subjects’ financial standing and their overall heart health. In addition, within this same study, 96% of all heart attack patients reported some level of stress was present when they had their heart attack.
Financial Issues Result in Physical Conditions
Heart health is affected by many physical conditions, such as having high blood sugar, high blood pressure, obesity and more. These factors, of course, increase a person’s risk of having a heart attack. It seems financial stress, in particular, even more than other types of stresses can lead to heart issues. There are different types of stress hormones that the body releases when it feels it is in danger. The type that is released when in physical danger is different than what is released during a financial crisis. Many experts believe this is because this type of stress is chronic in nature and therefore has a long-term negative impact on the overall health of the body.
How to Stop Stressing Over Money
Thankfully, money issues are something you can put your finger on. They are tangible and fixable. This means there are actionable ways for you to regain control of your health by reducing your chronic stress levels pertaining to finances. Here are a few tips for taking back control of your money and subsequently reducing your stress levels and promoting heart health:
- Get Involved: Finances aren’t managed well passively. Get involved. Open bank statements, bills, etc. It might not be fun, but knowing your enemy is half the battle.
- Make a List: Instead of keeping your financial worries in your head, causing stress to build, write it down. Make lists of what is bothering you most about your finances.
- Make a Plan: Create a solution to your problem and a plan of action for getting there, or…
- Get Help: Ask a trusted friend or a financial planner to help you get your finances in order or utilize resources from blogs like this to make a good plan of action.
- Keep at It: Even when this plan gets hard, stick with it. Remember how much stress was caused by not having a plan and stick with it.
Take control over your finances to reduce stress and promote increased heart health.