Exploring the Impact of Inflation on American's Economic Well-being Thumbnail

Inflation at 30-year high, learn how it affects the Americans' health and well-being, and how to cope with economic turmoil.

March 11th, 2023, will mark the third anniversary since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and a dramatic change to our daily lives. Even though mask mandates have loosened up, Americans are feeling the crush of the highest cost of inflation in the past 30+ years, affecting nearly every aspect of our lives. Grocery stores continue to suffer from supply chain issues stemming from the pandemic, and the cost of used cars have risen 37% since last year

Everyday goods and services such as groceries, gas, and utilities continue to increase, making it difficult for Americans to afford even basic essentials. With the rise in prices and our dollars affording us less, financial stress is particularly hitting lower-income families who are starting to suffer from food and housing insecurity, negatively impacting both communities and family units.

Sixty five percent of people already report money concerns as a significant source of stress, with now 85% reporting additional stressors in relation to the steep rise in prices. While we hope the government can do something to alleviate our economic suffering, nobody knows how long that may take, and, in the meantime, we need to address the effect this turmoil is having on our physical and mental health.

The Impacts of Financial Stress

The impacts of inflation on an individual's economic well-being can be extensive. Over time, financial stress can lead to psychological, emotional, and physical health problems.

Financial stress often leads to feelings of anxiety and depression, as individuals may feel overwhelmed by their financial situation and have a hard time envisioning a positive future. They may also experience feelings of shame and guilt, which can exacerbate the negative feelings they are already experiencing. These negative emotions can affect a person's daily life, impacting their ability to focus and be productive at work, and can also affect their overall quality of life.

Emotionally, financial stress can take a toll on a person's relationships. It can lead to increased conflicts and tension with partners, friends, and family members. The stress can also lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, as people may feel too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about their financial struggles with others. This can lead to a sense of disconnection from loved ones and can also make it harder for people to reach out for help when they need it.

Physically, financial stress can manifest in a number of ways. It can lead to increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, which can contribute to a host of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Financial stress can also lead to poor sleep, fatigue, and a weakened immune system, which can make it harder for people to fight off illnesses. 

People struggling with anxiety and depression may prioritize their finances over their health, such as skipping doctor's appointments or not taking medication as prescribed, leading to more health complications.

Finally, financial stress can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, overeating, smoking, or not taking care of oneself, which can further compound the negative effects on a person's health. Financial stress can be a vicious cycle, where it can affect a person's mental and emotional well-being, which in turn can negatively impact their physical health.

Coping with Financial Stress

Dealing with financial stress on a daily basis can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help individuals cope with the stress and improve their overall well-being.

One effective strategy is budgeting. Creating a budget and sticking to it can help individuals gain a better understanding of their financial situation and identify areas where they can make changes to improve it. This can include cutting back on unnecessary expenses, increasing income, or finding ways to reduce debt. In addition, many communities have programs that can help individuals with things like housing, food, and medical expenses. It's worth researching these programs as they may be able to provide some much-needed relief.

Another important strategy for coping with financial stress is to prioritize self-care. Taking care of one's physical and emotional well-being can have a profound impact on an individual's ability to cope with the stress that comes with financial difficulties. Self-care is not just about pampering oneself; it's about taking the time to engage in activities that promote physical and emotional well-being. When individuals take care of themselves, they are better equipped to handle the challenges that come their way.

One way to prioritize self-care is by incorporating regular exercise into one's routine. Exercise has been shown to be a powerful stress reliever, as it releases endorphins, also known as "feel-good" hormones, which can improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Exercise can also help to improve sleep, boost self-esteem, and increase overall energy levels. Even a moderate amount of exercise, such as a brisk walk or yoga, can make a big difference.

Another form of self-care that can be beneficial is meditation. Meditation can help individuals to focus on the present moment rather than worrying about the past or future. This can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. It can also aid in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

There are many different forms of meditation, such as mindfulness meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Zen meditation, so it's worth exploring different options to find the one that works best for you.Youtube is an excellent resource for finding meditations that work for you.

Having strong social support is essential, as well as access to mental health care which is sometimes difficult for those suffering from economic disparities. If you are unable to reach out to a mental health professional, talk to a member of your church, a close friend, or a family member. In these difficult times, people have similar worries and stress, and it is helpful to talk it out. You may even be able to find a local or online support group with others who are struggling with similar issues.

Finally, it's important to keep things in perspective. Financial stress can feel overwhelming, but it's important to remember that it's a temporary problem that can be addressed and eventually resolved. Focusing on the positive aspects of one's life, such as relationships and personal accomplishments, can help individuals maintain a more positive outlook.

Developing Resilience with Talk therapy

With prices on the rise, many Americans are feeling financial strain, leading to stress and anxiety about their economic well-being. The impact of inflation on mental and emotional well-being is often overlooked, but it's important to address these feelings in order to manage the stress caused by financial insecurity.

One way to address these feelings is through talk therapy. A therapist can provide a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to express their concerns and fears about their financial situation. They can also help individuals understand the root causes of their stress and anxiety related to inflation. 

By exploring past experiences, beliefs and values, and overall mindset, they can identify how these may be contributing to the individual's negative feelings.

During therapy sessions, the therapist can provide support and guidance in developing strategies for managing financial insecurity. This can include budgeting, financial planning, and learning to prioritize spending. They can also help individuals develop a sense of resilience and control over their financial situation by teaching coping mechanisms and stress-management techniques.

Moreover, therapy can help to identify any underlying mental health issues that may be exacerbating the stress caused by inflation. For example, an individual may have a history of depression or anxiety, which is triggered by financial insecurity caused by inflation. By addressing these underlying issues, the therapist can help the individual feel more in control of their mental and emotional well-being, even in the face of financial challenges.

Compassionate Online Behavioral Health Services

Inflation can have a significant impact on Americans' economic well-being, leading to financial stress that can affect a person's psychological, emotional, and physical health. While dealing with financial stress can be challenging, getting the right support and following the right strategies can help individuals cope with the stress and improve their overall well-being.

Here at CHE Behavioral Health Services, we understand the importance of addressing the impact of inflation on mental and emotional health. Our team of qualified therapists is trained to help individuals manage the stress caused by financial insecurity. 

We provide a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to express their concerns, and our therapists will work with you to develop strategies for managing financial insecurity and addressing underlying mental health issues.

Don't let the stress of inflation take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. Seek help from a therapist at CHE today. Together, we can work towards developing a sense of resilience and control over your financial situation and improve your overall well-being.

For more information about mental illness and treatment options offered by CHE, please call 888-515-3834. We are ready to talk and ready to listen.