Financial stress: what concrete support can you get?

21 Oct ‘22
6 min
Arianna Freni
Reviewed by psychologist Madelief Falkmann
financial stress
In our previous article, we discussed the link between mental health and financial struggles and shared some essential tips for handling financial stress. 

 

This time, we would like to take you on a more practical journey to explore how professional figures can support you through your money management and which concrete steps can be taken to ease your economic strain.  

 

How can a psychologist concretely help?

 

Although there is not a one-size-fits-all for each case, people who are experiencing financial issues may benefit from meeting with a psychologist in multiple ways. Therapy can help alleviate the anxiety of monetary concerns, re-evaluate financial habits and attitudes, and develop better coping tools to maintain economic stability.

 

Below, we’ve outlined five practical steps a psychologist will take to assist you in navigating your financial worries: 

 

1. Normalising the problem

 

Financial struggles can lead you to withdraw from social situations. Nonetheless, ruminating alone with your thoughts can only make things worse. Though it may seem daunting, opening up about your concerns is the first step to accepting them and taking action. 

 

A psychologist guides you in the process of normalising the conversation about financial issues you may be facing and enables you to express yourself constructively. Remember: staying connected is vital, life’s hardships shouldn’t be faced alone.

 

2. Dealing with stressful & negative thoughts

 

Oftentimes, the thoughts you make have an impact on your feelings and behaviours. When negative thoughts become the norm, they can affect your mood, leaving you feeling sad or stressed, and even contribute to symptoms of anxiety and unhappiness.

 

A psychologist can help you deal with these types of thoughts when they appear and explore where they stem from in the first place. In other words, embarking on a therapy journey guides you towards an awareness of your thinking patterns and the replacement of negative thoughts with more helpful, positive ones.

Real-life example

“I have a client that reached out for psychological support due to workplace anxiety”, explains psychologist Marina Pacini. “During our first session, it became clear that her stressors were stemming from her professional uncertainty and her difficult financial situation. She has been working in a store for more than a year and recently her contract hours have been reduced, affecting her salary.

 

These circumstances were causing a great amount of anxiety and worry, which manifested in physical symptoms. On our first meeting, the first step was to refer her to a GP to address her psychosomatic complaints. In parallel, we started working on the psychological impact of her discomfort, focusing on her negative thoughts and trying to reframe them. I introduced the “thought record” exercise, which is a tool to become more aware of your thoughts, emotions and behaviours and has to be repeated every time the anxiety wave occurs.

 

Positive results were achieved over our next two sessions, as the client gradually felt more stable and more organized. We are now working on improving her communication with her close ones – for example, being able to share with her partner her financial worries led to significant improvements in her psychological well-being.”

3. Planning together

 

What is it exactly that worries you? Is it paying your bills? Managing your budget? Talking to your manager? Finding an agreement with your ex-partner? Whatever the case, a psychologist helps you identify and structure what is going on and what is causing you stress. Together, you can make a plan for the next steps and set goals for behavioural changes. 

 

💡 Looking for a deeper dive into how to effectively deal with financial struggles? Watch our masterclass “How to cope with financial stress”.

 

4. Redirecting to the right reference figures

 

If you are chronically struggling with managing your budget and spending issues, it is important to seek outside help. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to turn and it may feel just like one more thing to take care of. Depending on your situation, a psychologist will redirect you to the right professional advisors. For instance, a budget coach can help you take some of the financial weight off your shoulders by creating a long-term strategy that will help you address your current needs and plan for the future.

 

➤ Budget Coach: what can you expect?

 

A budget coach helps you set goals and, most importantly, stick with them to reach financial peace of mind. Their role is to assist clients with the behavioural and emotional aspects of managing finances and guide them toward creating a plan for their budget and expenses. 

 

Depending on your situation and needs, a contact frequency between the client and the budget coach will be agreed on the first session. In general, three sessions are needed to gather good insights into the situation and design a realistic plan of action. Importantly, a budget coach can be engaged by anyone in need. Whether you are a private individual or a company, you can always expect a transparent overview of your financial situation. 

Budget Coach: what can you expect?

Indika Vermeij, budget coach on BudgetcoachIAM, explains that the coaching process is always tailor-made based on the client’s needs. The ultimate goal is to achieve a sustainable behavioural change that is long-term and that can be implemented in healthier money habits. These could range from adapting your groceries expenses to cancelling subscriptions or even managing your debts. 

 

“My role is to figure out what is needed, where the financial problems come from and how to change that pattern”, says Indika. “Above all, I want to create mental peace by taking over and offering concrete advice. No matter how bad your financial situation is, you always have a choice.”

 

As for the costs, Indika points out that the first step is to examine whether there are opportunities to cut some expenses and maximise savings. This will gradually enable the client to pay for the service, which can be also done in instalments with no interest or additional charges.

5. Keeping yourself in check

 

Reducing financial stress does not happen overnight and it can often feel like an energy-consuming task. This is why you should never forget to focus on your well-being during this process. 

 

A psychologist will take care of reminding you to nourish your mind and body by creating a low-stress lifestyle. In addition to getting enough rest, it is vital to keep a healthy diet and stay active. Practising stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness or deep breathing can also help you get into a better headspace.

 

A brighter way ahead  

 

It’s a fact: financial stress can be overwhelming. However, actively planning your budget and preventing expenses through the support of a professional advisor can help you stay on top of your finances. With the proper assets, you can develop new spending habits, drive effective judgments, and find the financial balance that will contribute to your overall well-being.

 

✨ Would you like some extra support to discuss your individual concerns? Book a consultation with one of our psychologists. We are here to help.