We spend a lot of time thinking and talking about our physical fitness. You and your pals regularly swap texts about which spin instructors have the perfect playlists, and you do your best to meet up to take a class together every few weeks. Even if ice cream is officially your favorite food, you put in a good effort to seek out more well-rounded nutritional options… most of the time. When you’re not feeling well, pretty much everyone in your immediate circle knows about it, because you know it’s going to affect what you can and can’t do until your body heals. See? That’s a lot of focus on your physical health.

stressed out woman

What’s less likely to make it into regular conversation — or even consideration — is your financial health. And while it might seem like it’s just easier to keep money matters on the DL, the truth is that they may be more tied to your physical wellness than you think. According to the results of a LendingClub financial health survey released in October 2018, bad financial health seems to negatively impact the body and the mind.

Per the survey — which was conducted online among 5,000 American adults in August 2018 — people who report poor financial health are less likely to practice certain healthy habits like check-ups and regular exercise. They’re also more likely to have skipped preventive health measures in the past year due to, unsurprisingly, cost. They tend to experience more chronic pain. Survey participants who reported better financial health report less pain and were more likely to live a healthy lifestyle and to be up-to-date on those preventive measures.

LendingClub Financial Health Officer Anuj Nayar notes that debt is a driving force behind failing financial health among Americans. “We talk about the revolving hamster wheel of credit card debt,” he says. “You get into it, you think you’re paying it off, but in reality, all you’re doing is paying off the interest. Before you know it, it just gets worse and worse. You’re not talking about it to anybody and it becomes a very personal thing. It drags you down. It makes you so much more unhealthy.”

While engaging in more open conversations about your financial situation and taking control of debt might be great ways to start reclaiming your health in multiple areas, it doesn’t stop there. Pharmacist and empowered wellness expert Lindsey Elmore notes that money struggles are just one more form of stress, which can be devastating to our health across the board. Per the United States of Stress report from Everyday Health, finances are the leading cause of stress for basically everyone. People with mental health and chronic conditions are even more likely to credit money as their number-one stressor.

“In my opinion, poor financial health sets off a chain of events that impacts every area of life, including physical health,” Elmore says. “[And] when a person experiences difficulty accessing health care for any reason [including inadequate finances], it leads to greater disease burden and a higher risk of death.”

Elmore recommends several free practices to help people stay on the right track physically, which — at least in terms of reduced health care costs — should ease the financial burden too. Consider a five-minute daily meditation practice to lower your stress and reduce blood pressure. Wash your hands frequently. Limit your drinking (which will help you save cash too).

And last, but certainly not least, “it is important to create a community with friends and family and celebrate the small joys in life on a daily basis,” Elmore says. Well, if the expert prescribes it!

Do you feel physically healthier when your finances are in order? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)