Get organized, learn how not to spend more than you earn, and you'll soon find thinking about money makes you a lot less anxious.
Step 1: Observe your spending Spend one month tracking everything you spend. Don't try to change anything, just observe what you spend and write everything down. Use this information to make a budget.
Step 2: Anticipate stress Put together a monthly budget and a financial plan. Decide on what you're saving for, or whether you'd like to have extra money to pay down debts. Then, find items in your budget on which you can cut back, no matter how small they are. Add the leftover money to savings or debt repayment.
Step 3: Look to friends Get emotional support from people who care about you. With close friends and family, be honest that money stresses you out, suggest free and low-cost activities you can do together, and ask them to suggest some, too.
TIP: Consider a financial counseling service to help you reorganize your debt. Even one meeting will lend perspective.
Step 4: Live in the moment Consider unhealthy reactions to stress and do the opposite to reduce the risk. Don't give in to dwelling on worst-case scenarios.
Step 5: Try hobbies Find cheap or free hobbies to add to your routine. The repetitive motion and focus of needlework can create a meditative state that slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Cooking at home can also be a fun way to unleash your creativity and save money on eating out at the same time.
FACT: According to a 2008 report by the American Psychological Association, 80 percent of Americans identified the economy as a significant cause of stress, up from 66 percent 6 months before.