Focus on what’s important to your life overall. In an interview with MintGenie, Kamna Chibber, Clinical Psychologist & Head – Mental Health, Fortis Healthcare opines that though financial security is important, you cannot discount the effect of other factors that affect the quality of your life.
Q. Monetary stress and anxiety - Are there a lot of patients you meet with these issues?
People can have stress and anxiety on account of varying things or situations. Money can be one of them. Usually, when people come for therapy it is on account of multiple aspects pertaining to their life and not just one element.
Q. What are the main reasons or causes of stress related to money that people feel?
If there is anxiousness pertaining to money or finances it can link to aspects such as the quality of life that is desired, concerns around future security, maintaining current lifestyles, and providing for funds for dependents, to name a few. For different individuals, different elements can take importance or precedence and lead to the experience of greater stress than what might be required. It can push them to want to do more beyond their capacity and impact their abilities to cope over time.
Q. What are the ways to treat this or help people lower this anxiety?
If there are specific concerns around finances then the following are some things that people can keep in mind:
- Focus on what you have. Instead of looking at what is missing it is more helpful to remind yourself of your achievements and what you have been able to create for yourself which can act as a positive reinforcer and a motivator.
- Shift attention towards what you can control. Focusing on things which are out of your control can increase feelings of helplessness and increase anxiousness and worry.
- Develop realistic expectations. Be more aware of your strengths and areas of development. Have realistic expectations of what you can achieve and link these to time frames that are reasonable and not excessive.
- Avoid comparisons. Remember that everyone will have their own trajectory of growth and movement through life. Look towards others for inspiration but not as a comparison of where you are and where they might be at.
- Build a life that is sustainable for you. It is crucial to focus on what works for you and is meaningful and important to you as an individual.
- Have your own individual goals. Build and work towards those goals that hold meaning and value for you. Even if it makes you stand out from the crowd it will still be something that you are passionate about and will have greater energy to work towards.
Q. Money-issues is also a reason why people commit suicide. How do we handle such people?
There are numerous proximal and distal factors that can contribute to suicides. Understanding these is important and recognizing the signs of distress is crucial. Building the understanding that people have about mental health would contribute to this and it is essential that we bust the myths, misconceptions and stigma that continue to surround mental health-related concerns and illnesses.
In case people know of others who are struggling to manage their mental well-being it is important to encourage them to seek help and direct them to the right resources for the same. Having conversations and reminding the person of your availability and support is essential as is the skill of being able to actively listen to what the person has to share.
Q. Debt-trap is a very real issue and causes tremendous mental stress. How to help people overcome this?
The following are some things that can be helpful in ensuring that people can build their skills of being able to manage anxiety pertaining to money:
- Build financial literacy from a young age.
- Help young people understand how to manage money.
- Provide support to those who are struggling to manage money by giving them clear directions or understanding of what they can do.
- Avoid castigating or burdening with negative comments and criticism.
- Help the person build a plan towards being able to pull themselves out of the situation they are finding themselves in.
Q. Money doesn't buy happiness. What would like to say about this overused cliched adage?
Focus on what’s important to your life overall. Having financial security is important but there are other aspects that contribute to the overall quality of life. Working towards building a balanced approach is critical.