Finances: Three ways to stress less

These are important times to think about money, perhaps more than in previous years. There are concerns over rising energy costs, and education costs among other daily living costs that you might think are the cause of stress. Well, in fact, finances can be a contributor to stress, but may not be the underlying cause.


What may be the underlying cause? Perhaps it’s not feeling secure in other areas of life, such as with your job, your family, your health, all that you feel you might need more money for.

How can we all stress less when it comes to our finances?

Here are three ideas:

1. Don’t stress alone

When it comes to finances, we sometimes blame ourselves for the decisions we make and feel we are in a unique position. Not usually. This is where help is extremely important.

Yes, you can go to a financial advisor and make a plan, which can make you feel a temporary sense of relief, but knowing you are not alone has its great rewards.

Talking to family is key here. They are there to see you on your ups, but also your downs. Talking to your family and making a plan together can be important, especially because you and them are on the same page. Being on the same page is vital. Not hiding information from others. Not trying to solve financial situations alone. Not stressing alone.

It would be prudent to mention also that counselling can help. There are some things you may not be ready to reveal to family yet, that you need to discuss with a psychologist in a neutral space.

The idea here is that when you discuss what is happening with your finances, while the psychologist is not there to create a financial plan with you, the psychologist is there to help you manage your stress. See the third point for an abbreviated example of how this can be achieved.

2. Create a plan

In the previous point, it was mentioned that you can create a plan, particularly with your financial advisor. While this post is not meant to tell you how to create a plan, that is of course dependent on individual finances and circumstances, it is nonetheless extremely important to have one.

Stress can be caused by fear of the unknown or believing that the worst is yet to come. Those feelings can be accompanied by a lack of preparedness or at least that feeling. When it comes to feeling less stressed about your finances, having a plan - even if not knowing whether all will go according to plan – can help you be rid of your stress for the time being.

Even if that plan involves talking to your spouse or financial advisor every month about how you are achieving this plan, knowing that you are getting rid of the unknown for the known through a financial plan, can make all the difference. Remember, the idea to stress less is to try and shelf your stress immediately, not two months from now, immediately.

3. Distress tolerance – distraction as a technique

Speaking of attempting to relieve stress immediately, there is a distress tolerance technique that allows us to distract ourselves as a way of fighting off stress that will be highlighted here. This technique is covered in full in my practice Bourne Path as well as many others.

But for starters, it is important to know that trying to distract yourself when feeling stressed about finances can be important. It is sometimes said that distraction may act as procrastination. Well, when feeling stressed about where money will come in the future, or how to deal with difficult people in our lives when it comes to finances, sometimes we just need to getaway.

A couple of elements of the aforementioned distress tolerance technique include:

A. Activities

It is as it sounds. When feeling stressed about where your next payslip may come from, or how you can afford rising heat and energy costs, it’s time to go away and do something for yourself. The finances and settling it, and wondering about what you need to do to earn more may make you feel dependent on others, but doing an activity for yourself, such as going for a walk, seeing a movie or going to the gym for yourself in order to stop thinking about finances can help.

B. Contributing

Contributing can mean many things. It can mean volunteering. It can be calling a friend or family member to catch up and ask about them as a way of distracting yourself from thinking about finances.

However, if you find yourself just not being able to stop thinking and stressing about finances, contributing can help in another way. You can always send a helpful email or letter to those helping you with your finances. Just acknowledging that they have been a help to you and that you're appreciative can help you maintain that feeling of being on a team so that you are not alone, while also helping you not think about what you need to solve your finances now, but helps you stay distracted by focusing on who is there to help you.

These are just two parts of the technique. Psychologists can help you maintain low-stress levels with the rest of the technique in sessions.

The keyword in whichever way you choose to lower your stress levels, by talking to others, creating a financial plan or through distraction, stressing less about your finances starts with how you are taking care of you. Start with that, and you may just leave stress behind.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, Greater London, SW6 3PA
Written by Dr Joshua Bourne
London, Greater London, SW6 3PA

Joshua is a Counselling Psychologist registered with the BPS and HCPC and founder of the Psychology Practice Bourne Path. He has over 8 years of training and work experience offering evidence-based practice in the field of Psychology, both in therapeutic and business psychology contexts. He invites you to visit his profile for more information.

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