NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


| Share

Stressed About Dollars

Stressed about Dollars


More Americans feel added stress and anxiety about their financial future as talk of rising consumer debt, the ongoing housing crisis, rising costs of living, and declining retail sales bring up worries about the nation's economic health.

Money is often on the minds of most Americans. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association's 2007 Stress in America survey, money and work are two of the top sources of stress for almost 75 percent of Americans. Add to the mix headlines declaring a looming economic recession, and many begin to fear how they can handle any further financial crunch.


In a personal crisis, you may feel tense and angry. You may have mood swings and find yourself lashing out at others. Feelings of frustration can lead to family arguments. You may feel depressed and discouraged. These feelings may be normal and common. Other family members usually share some or all of your emotions, either directly or indirectly. While sharing your feelings of loss and despair, they may also have to deal with your depression, frustration, and anger.



A personal crisis may force you to make rapid changes in your life. It can disrupt your habits and normal routines and give you too much or not enough free time. Maintain your daily routines as much as you possibly can. Try to fill your time in satisfying and rewarding ways.


Every member of the family feels stress during tough times. It is vital that you support and communicate with one another. Some roles and responsibilities may need to be changed until the crisis is over. Be flexible and willing to try new things. Studies show families who meet challenges head on are the most likely to successfully cope with crises. Change can be difficult, but all family members need to pull together during a crisis.


One approach to coping with stress overload is to take a break from the stressful situation. Here are some suggestions:


a.. Take a walk.

b.. Watch a movie.

c.. Spend time on yourself - take a long bath or shower.

d.. Listen to music.

e.. Work in the yard or garden.

f.. Work on your favorite hobby, or start a new one.

g.. Jog, dance, or participate in some other physical activity.

Sometimes things may get so difficult and out of control that you may need to get professional help. In every community, resources such as the family doctor, mental health professionals, support groups, and clergy exist. They can help you deal with extreme levels of stress and the physical and emotional trauma that often accompany them.


The following symptoms indicate a need for outside help:


a.. Feeling depressed. (Some signs are crying for no reason, lack of personal care, feeling as if you do not want to do anything, fatigue, unreasonable fears, inability to concentrate, change in appetite.)

b.. Changing sleeping patterns. (Sleeping constantly, difficulty falling asleep, waking a lot during the night and too early in the morning.)

c.. Abusing family members.

d.. Thinking about suicide.

e.. Disciplining too harshly.

f.. Hallucinating (you hear voices or see things that are not there).

g.. Considering separation from your spouse.

h.. Thinking of nothing good to say.

i.. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.

j.. Misusing drugs.

k.. Feeling guilty, as though you are not being a good parent to your kids.

l.. Experiencing isolation. (You do not know anyone to talk to and you have a strong need to talk to someone.)

m.. Making excuses for your situation or lying about your situation.

n.. Having attacks when you feel extremely panicky (may also have high pulse rate and difficulty breathing).

o.. Feeling overwhelmed by life.

Before your problems become too big to handle, find a trained, skilled counselor to help you and your family cope with this crisis. A family counselor can help you handle your fears, adjust to your present situation, and plan adequately for the future.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.