How to Cope with Financial Stress: Wisdom from a Psychologist


Money troubles can be difficult to talk about because they stir up intense emotions, such as guilt, anxiety, and fear. But they’re too important to ignore for both your financial and mental health.

Whether you have a friend or family member dealing with a financial problem or your own money challenges, it’s a sensitive topic. I interviewed Dr. Jade Wu, a clinical psychologist specializing in health psychology, for tips to help manage money worries. Jade also hosts QDT’s Savvy Psychologist podcast, where she uses evidence-based research to helps listeners be happier and healthier.

On the Money Girl podcast, Jade and I discuss a variety of topics, including:

  • How to use empathy and open-ended questions in financial discussions
  • The importance of creating a safe space when talking about money
  • Why accomplishing a small financial step is a worthy goal
  • How to evaluate your own emotions before starting a money conversation
  • Whether you’re helping or enabling someone by lending money
  • How to ask others for financial help when you need it
  • Tips to get better sleep even when you’re worried about money

[Listen to the interview using the embedded audio player or on Apple PodcastsSoundCloudStitcher, and Spotify]

When the worry window closes, do your best to move on with your day and stop worrying.

One of my favorite tips that Jade recommends is to use a “worry window”—giving yourself a set time, such as 30 minutes each day, when you allow yourself to dwell on your money problems. When the worry window closes, do your best to move on with your day and stop worrying. 

It’s also helpful to have a list of financial worries that are and are not in your control. When you fixate on something that’s not in your control, such as the pandemic or economy, shift your focus to something you can control. That might be making an appointment with a financial advisor, creating a financial plan, or looking for a new job. Creating solutions to your problems or getting expert advice is the key to solving them.

While you might have a lot to be concerned about, acknowledge that many worries simply aren’t in your control. Putting boundaries around your worry and turning your attention to actionable solutions will help you improve your financial life and overall well-being.  



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