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Save money to save your health

By Naomi Mannino ·
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Posted: 2 pm ET

Has the stress of upcoming payments or big financial obligations ever given you a headache or made you feel nauseous … literally? You're not alone. A recent Associated Press/AOL poll correlated high debt-related stress with different health conditions.

  • Forty-four percent of respondents with high debt-related stress had headaches or migraines, versus 4 percent with low debt-related stress.
  • Sixty-five percent more people with high debt-related stress suffered from muscle tension or lower back pain than those with low debt-related stress.
  • The heart attack rate of people with high stress was double that of those with low stress.

And a recent study by the American Psychological Association found similar results: Finances were the leading source of stress for respondents. I asked Heidi Beckman, a clinical health psychologist at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and speaker on financial behavior change, how we can boost budgets and feel better, too.

  • Resist temptation: Picture your self control in a bucket, which can get used up. Make sure you have adequate self control left in your bucket before putting yourself in more financially challenging or tempting situations.
  • Find support for financial change: Look for social support for setting and working on financial goals. If you make a public commitment to helpful and supportive family and friends, then you will be less likely to abandon the goals. Be specific in ways that these supporters can help or contribute to you goals whether through verbal encouragement, reminders or other ways.

How do you feel and what do you do when faced with monthly bills and unplanned expenses?

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