Money can be the cause of a full spectrum of emotions

This was originally published on Monday, June 20 ,2016 in the Pacific Daily News.  Click here to subscribe to the PDN.

Money is a very personal topic. When you think of money, it can stir many different emotions. When you receive money, you can be joyful. When you go through hard financial times, your emotions are quite different.

Your financial health can affect your mental health. It’s important that you take care of yourself. Here are some tips on how to maintain your mental health.

  • Don’t isolate: Many people feel shame when going through financial difficulties. That is a very common emotion. Often we do not want to let our loved ones down or have friends think less of us. Isolating yourself is probably the worst thing you can do. Share with those closest to you what you are going through. Just knowing that there is someone there to support you helps lighten the burden.
  • Talk: You may be surprised how many of friends and family have gone through similar situations. Talk with them. They may be able to offer some sound advice, or solutions to troubles you have not thought about. Sometimes talking can help put your troubles in perspective and renew your thought process.
  • Acceptance: Coming to terms with where your situation is at the present time is a huge step. You will feel worse if you tune out your problems. By ignoring the problem, it will start to snowball until you are in dire trouble. You may not get rid of the pain of losing a home, but accepting it and understanding that this is a temporary situation will help ease your mind. This in turn will prepare yourself for the next steps you will need to take.
  • Responsibility, not fault: One of our biggest road blocks is ourselves. When times get tough, we tend to blame and criticize ourselves. By beating yourself up and harping on the situation, you can expect your mood to go in one direction – down. Take responsibility for what has happened, but don’t beat yourself up for doing so. Stay clear of accusations and self-punishments.
  • Focus: Review your budget and make an action plan to improve your finances. Decide what are needs and wants. You need power and water, but do you need cable TV? Be honest and make the assessment of what you actually need. Tighten your budget and think of ways to earn some extra income. There are websites that offer free downloads to help you create your budget.
  • Stay in the present: Of course learn from the past and plan for the future. But living in the present is what is going on now, and now is where you have to be productive. Do not dwell in the past or worry about the future. Do things that will help you here and now.
  • “Me” time: When in financial stress, people tend to cut back on everything. Getting back on track does not mean cutting out those things that make you feel good. You must take time to care for yourself. Get a little creative to keep the cost down. You may have cut your gym membership, but continue to workout at home or go on hikes. Scale back on manicures and pedicures, but have a girl’s night at home. Take time to do the things that make you happy.
  • Passive activities: Sitting in your pajamas and watching too much TV will not help your state of mind. Unfortunately, negative stories sell in the media, and we are constantly bombarded with those messages on TV. If you are watching some of the recent news on our island home, your mood may follow. Get up, get moving and get those endorphins flowing.

Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 20 years of experience in retail banking and at financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at moneymattersguam@yahoo.com and read past columns at the Money Matters blog at http://www.moneymattersguam.wordpress.com.

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