Man struggling with financial stress

Apr 21, 2021

New research coming out from the University of Georgia appears to indicate that the effects of Financial Stress can be felt many years later. Up to 30 years later!

Financial stress is commonly linked to a significantly lowered sense of control, according to University of Georgia scientists in Stress and Health. This is turn is linked to increased physical pain that is felt in later life.

Pain is largely neurological – which means it is related to the nervous system. Pain is generated in the network of nerves throughout our bodies. However, there is already a very real causal link associating real physical pain with severe emotional distress.

The research that is presented here appears to suggest that experiences like financial strain can deplete psychological resources like a sense of control. This depletion of resources has a knock-on effect upon regions of the brain that are sensitive to stress. In turn this then leads to pathological, neurological and physiological processes that lead to health conditions like physical pain, and cardiovascular disease.

Stress

Stress is actually a part of a the ‘fight or flight response’. Stressful situations trigger the hypothalamus, an area of the brain which acts as a control room in your brain. This control room, in stressful situations, sends the message to your body to release stress hormones. These hormones flood your body getting your heart pumping, your muscles tense and taut and reduces your breathing. You’re ready to run or claw your way through any enemy. Yet this priming of the body is detrimental when enduring ongoing stress.

Imagine it like this, your body being primed like this is like jumping into an idling car and revving the engine. Doing this once or twice or intermittently is fine. The effect will be negligible. Dropping your foot to the floor and sustaining the revving for a long period and you will soon find that the engine dies for one of many reasons. Enduring ongoing stress such as one might when tackling financial stress – where issues may hang over one’s head for months if not years – is the epitome of enduring ongoing stress.

Stress is linked directly to illness such as heart problems, high blood sugar and stomach issues. Again, these physical symptoms may be ‘minor’ at the time of the stress, but one must remember that our bodies in older age are an accumulation of all of the knocks, bumps and physical illnesses we have suffered throughout our lives. Like a well-worn sofa which has lost all spring and creaks, is it any wonder that a life blighted by financial stress is now being shown to be linked to a later life of pain?

Financial stress is one of those situations where companies can help their employees. It is not necessarily such a personal an issue that it is taboo to discuss and is a topic which can be discussed in general with the company populace as a whole. Companies, as salary providers, are uniquely positioned to assist their employees in nurturing their financial well-being. Businesses can assist in ensuring the continued good mental health of their employees. And that has the added benefit of being good for businesses!

We can help

Based in Wolverhampton, Mental Health Midlands is a first-class training provider supporting businesses in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Walsall and the Black Country. We provide recognised course in mental health such as two-day courses to become Mental Health First Aiders to basic entry level half day mental health courses to aid understanding of a misunderstood area. We help businesses to overcome mental health issues and break the stigmas around mental health in the workplace.

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