How to relieve stress when debt becomes overwhelming

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Debt can affect your health. Sound like an overstatement? It’s not- debt is a source of chronic stress, which has negative consequences both mentally and physically. Though the relationship between stress and illness is complex, research shows chronic stress can suppress your body’s ability to fight off illness, may worsen certain conditions such as asthma, and can lead to chronic conditions like ulcerative colitis and depression.

Just as stress can negatively alter the activity of hormones and certain cells in your body- catecholamine, suppressor T cells, histamine, and insulin- stress relief strategies can positively impact the release of feel-good chemicals, such as oxytocin and endorphins.

If you’re overwhelmed by debt, you need to incorporate stress relief strategies into your routine. Read on for some strategies to achieve peace of mind.

Practice some relaxation techniques and stick with the one that works for you.

According to the Mayo Clinic, relaxation techniques can, among many other benefits, help lower blood pressure, reduce the activity of stress hormones, and improve concentration and mood. Some relaxation techniques you can try on your own include:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation. This technique will teach you the difference between muscle tension and relaxation so you become aware of when your body is stressed. To practice, begin by tensing the muscles in your toes for 5 seconds and relaxing your muscles for 30 seconds. Repeat this process as you work your way up to your neck and head.
  • Visualization. This technique is all about going to your happy place. Close your eyes and picture a calming environment like the beach or a beautiful hiking trail. Engage your senses-sight, touch, smell-to create vivid sceneries. Concentrate on your breathing- in and out- focusing on positive thoughts.
  • Other techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, music and art therapy, and aromatherapy.

Laugh often and laugh hard.

Apparently, the stresses of adult life make grownups very dull. Did you know children laugh 300 to 500 times per day and adults only laugh, on average, 15 times per day? That’s a shame, because laughter can produce positive mental and physical effects. Laughter is like a deep breath, increasing oxygen intake that improves heart, lung, and muscle function and boosting endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers). In the long-term, laughter can relieve pain, improve immune function, and improve the release of neuropeptides (the molecular messengers that help neurons communicate). Find a great movie comedy, YouTube fail video, or laughter yoga class and laugh your caboose off for good health!

Reach out to family and friends for support and comfort.

Reliable support networks can help you get through tough times- that’s a given. But research shows positive interactions actually affect brain chemistry. When faced with criticism, fighting, and other negative situations, the body releases cortisol which circulates throughout the body for 26 hours or more, prolonging the effect of stressful events and making it easier for negativity to form long-lasting memories. Conversely, positive interactions release the feel-good hormone oxytocin, elevating a person’s ability to communicate, collaborate, and trust others. The downside is that oxytocin metabolizes much quicker than cortisol. The takeaway? Call your friends, call your family- and often! It really does make you feel better.

Incorporating these stress-reducing techniques into your routine will make you stronger and more able to put forth the hard work it will take to get free of debt. You don’t have to go it alone. New Era Debt Solutions can be a part of your support network, providing you the best options for debt settlement. Contact us today for your free debt analysis and regain control over your finances!