Debt isn’t just bad for your financial well-being, it’s also bad for your physical and mental health. Stress stemming from debt is the most obvious suspect when it comes to your health, but your debt may also be causing cognitive decline, leading to unhealthy habits, and preventing you from getting the medical care you need.
Dealing with debt allows you to plan your financial future, live your dreams, and have a comfortable retirement, but it also may help you live a longer, more fulfilling life.
Here are 5 ways debt relief may improve your health.
1. Seek Medical Care When You Need It
Americans have at least $140 billion in unpaid health care bills. Neal Mahoney, a Stanford economist, found that individuals who are saddled with debt are less likely to seek out the medical care they need. His research also showed a sharp increase in doctor visitors among individuals who had their debt relieved.
Medical care is more than just about fixing what is wrong right now. A physical or a scan can identify disease early, saving you money in the long run and possibly extending your life.
2. Improved Psychological and Cognitive Function
A 2019 study from the National University of Singapore found that reducing debt improves psychological and cognitive performance by reducing an individual’s mental burden. 196 people participated in a one-off debt relief program. They were given surveys and tests to measure their anxiety and cognitive functioning before and after their debt was relieved.
The study found that participants experienced less anxiety and improved cognitive functioning three months after receiving debt relief. Furthermore, their ability to make better financial decisions also improved.
3. Increased Leisure Activity
Doing what you love in your spare time can be good for your health. A study published by University of California, Merced Professor Matthew Zawadzki found that people who engage in leisure activity have “lower stress levels, better mood, a lower heart rate, and more psychological engagement.”
It’s hard to take a ski trip or hit the links when you’re saddled with debt, and even if you spend your leisure time doing free activities like hiking, you’ll be burdened with debt-induced stress.
4. More Mental Space for Important Issues
Research has found that anxiety is correlated to self-focus and that even higher levels of anxiety are correlated with negative self-focus. The stress of debt tends to take up a lot of mental space. It follows us throughout the day: when our friends invite us out when a birthday is approaching, when a bill comes in the mail, etc.
All that mental capacity reserved for stressing about debt can be better spent confronting important issues and creating healthy habits.
5. Handle Unhealthy Coping Habits
A 2013 study published in the European Journal of Public Health found a correlation between debt and addictive behavior. The study found that individuals in debt were three times more likely to have a common mental disorder (CMD) of some kind (including addiction).
Once an individual finds debt relief they will have less stress, more time to dismantle unhealthy coping habits and be financially stable enough to seek treatment if needed.
Start Eliminating Your Debt Today
Contact a certified debt consultant today to receive a free debt analysis.
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