Approximately 77 million Americans are in debt so deep, their phones are ringing off the hook with collectors looking for money. While the average amount hovers around $5,200, the money you owe may directly correlate to how well you feel, because being under that kind of pressure is physically and mentally overwhelming. Owing more may mean a decline in physical and mental health, but what can you do about it?
Avoid Debt Denial
Many people simply ignore the fact that they are in way over their heads with debt. Although this is an emotional reprieve from the burden associated with owing a lot of money, denial usually means inaction, and if the situation is desperate, something must be done. The longer you put off doing something, the tighter that knot in your stomach is going to get, leaving you with headaches, insomnia and even greater threats to your health.
Keep a running total of your debt on the refrigerator or some other noticeable place. While you don't want to be constantly beating yourself up, you do need to face the facts in order to initiate positive change.
Do Something Constructive With Your Stress
Even though your debt can't be resolved quickly, the physical and emotional stress of having it can be. It costs nothing to take a walk or jog around the block. Sit-ups and pushups are free of charge and help you release some of the pressure of what you're dealing with.
Meditation also comes with no price tag, but the relief you feel afterwards is invaluable. Learn to focus on your positive qualities and how to coach yourself through these difficult times. The greater your inner strength, the more energy you will have to cope with the outside world.
Stop The Bleeding
When your head is spinning over which bill to pay this week or what the consequences of not paying another bill will be to your household, you've really got to pull it together. Living like this means you're under constant duress, with the weight of the world on your shoulders. Unfortunately, many people succumb to this unbearable pressure and snap. Foreclosures, evictions, repossessions and the constant barrage of phone calls from debt collectors leads debtors to take their own lives.
During a high level personal financial crisis, you must do something to stop the bleeding: Ask friends and family for help, sell jewelry or other valuables and have all but the essential utilities shut off in your home. Payday loans might also help you resolve a money emergency, bridging the gap between when you receive your salary and when it is most needed. Because these are crisis solutions, they should be temporary. Using these methods with regularity can result in even bigger money problems and your mental and physical health will continue to suffer.
Seek Additional Sources Of Income
No matter how bad the national or local economy is, you should be able to find some type of temporary employment that will help you through the crisis. Even if the work is unrelated to your career or something you never pictured yourself doing. Bartending a couple of nights a week could net you a few hundred dollars to work with, and that could go a long way. Becoming a consultant in your field of expertise, tutoring or even mowing lawns may be a way out of the darkness of debt. Do what you have to do and make the most of it.
Network Your Woes
Talking to other people with similar problems will provide you with a great sense of relief. While it's hard to admit to the obstacles you're facing, you might learn to see them as temporary setbacks when you hear how others dealt with them. Also, those with whom you speak may be in the position to offer recommendations for solutions, such as a reasonable lender they worked through a payday loan with or a creative plan the electric company allowed them to navigate until their bill was brought down. Facing debt alone leaves you with a doomsday feeling and that's unhealthy and counterproductive.
As heavy as debt is to your psyche, you set yourself up for failure when you pretend everything is okay and fail to take serious steps to help yourself. There is a way out of your financial trouble - a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to find it. Seek professional help in any form if you need it and don't forget to keep plugging away: Debt is a very powerful enemy.