Your bad money habits could be hurting your health

If you’re worrying about money, you’re not alone. Finances are often cited as the No. 1 cause of stress.

Yet, that anxiety may be doing more than keeping you up at night. It is also likely affecting your overall well-being.

“If you’re stressed about your finances, of course that’s going to cause your blood pressure to go up and put you at risk for so many diseases,” said health and wellness guru Deepak Chopra, co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing and founder of The Chopra Foundation.

A number of illnesses — such as migraines, digestive problems and heart disease — have been associated with stress.

People who are financially secure spend money on experiences, not necessarily on products.

Deepak Chopra, M.D.

author, “Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential”

The good news is that there are things you can do — both with your finances and to get your stress under control, according to Chopra, a New York Times best-selling author whose books include “Perfect Health” and his latest, “Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential.”

Live within your means

Americans owe more than $4 trillion in consumer debt as of July 2019, according to the Federal Reserve.

The use of credit cards is also rising among young adults — 52% of those in their 20s now have credit cards, compared to 41% in 2012, data from the New York Fed show.

However, to be financially well, you should live within your means, Chopra said.

Those who are financially secure “usually don’t spend money that they haven’t earned, to buy things that they don’t need, to impress people that they don’t like,” he said.

Save money

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc | DigitalVision | Getty Images

While every financial expert advises saving money, including for emergencies and retirement, it may be easier said than done.

In fact, 28% of Americans have no emergency savings, a July survey from personal financial website Bankrate.com found.

When it comes to retirement, 26% of non-retirees say they have nothing saved, according to the Fed.

However, saving is crucial to your financial health.

“I have also seen in my life that in cultures where people save 10% of their monthly salary and put it in reasonably low-risk investments, in the long term they do much better,” Chopra said.

Protect yourself

Spend on experiences

Being financially healthy doesn’t mean you can’t spend money.

However, Chopra suggests laying out cash on things like restaurants and vacations, rather than on physical objects.

“People who are financially secure spend money on experiences, not necessarily on products … particularly experiences that enhance your social well-being and physical well-being,” he said.

Meditate

The best way to address your stress is to meditate, according to Chopra.

It decreases blood pressure, hypertension and insomnia — as well as reduces the production of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, he notes.

Deepak Chopra leads a meditation in Telluride, Colorado.

Courtesy: Deepak Chopra

Chopra has also advised to stop multitasking. Instead, focus on one thing at a time.

If you find you are starting to go down the stress rabbit hole, then stop what you are doing, take a few deep breaths, observe the sensations in your body and smile, and then proceed with awareness and compassion, he wrote on The Chopra Center website.

Increase joy

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