With today’s IRS tax deadline, it’s not uncommon for Americans to experience financial stress. How you handle that stress can have an impact on your overall health. Stress related to tax deadlines can increase reliance on the unhealthy behaviors many people already use to cope with everyday stressors related to money, work, personal and family health matters and raising children. The Ohio Psychological Association (OPA) warns that increased dependence on unhealthy behaviors to manage stress can lead to long-term, serious health problems.
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2013 Stress in America survey found that money (71 percent), work (69 percent) and the economy (59 percent) continue to be the most commonly reported sources of stress, and these stressors are emphasized for many during the tax-filing process. The survey also found that less than half of Americans feel they are doing an excellent or very good job of managing their stress.
“People who cope with stress in unhealthy ways may alleviate symptoms of stress in the short term, but end up creating significant personal health problems over time, and, ironically, more stress,” OPA Public Education Chair Dr. Todd Finnerty said. “Research shows that stress, and the unhealthy behaviors people use to manage it, contribute to some of our country’s biggest health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. So it’s imperative that people take steps to address issues like financial stressors in healthy ways.”
APA and OPA offer these strategies for managing financial stress:
“My advice is that people identify times of the year, such as tax season, that may increase their stress. It is important to be prepared for periods of high stress and to create situations for yourself that promote healthier coping behaviors,” Dr. Finnerty said.