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Tips To Cope With Your Student Loan Stress

If you are just out of college and living on a limited budget, paying off your student loans can be very stressful. Debt related stress can feel very overwhelming at times, but with some planning, you can stay on top of that stress and make progress towards paying down your debt. Before we get into tips to cope with your student loan stress, let’s talk about the causes of student loan stress:

Student Loans and Mental Health

Financial Pressure Creates An Environment For Mental Health Issues

Two factors that create financial and emotional stress on young adults. First, many young people have a poor understanding of the long-term effects of financial decisions like a student loan. Hence, they tend to take greater risks in their finances than any other age group. Second, over a third of college freshmen suffer from at least one mental health problem. Many of those suffering from mental health problems have experienced its effects right from their school days.

In addition to the responsibilities of job and family, college students facing student loan payments, have an emotional and psychological attack. While budgeting can immediately help put a student back in control, cost-saving measures applied to monthly expenses can help relieve financial pressure and stress. Financial satisfaction is an important component of life satisfaction, and it is closely related to one’s overall psychological well-being.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural reaction to stressful situations. Our bodies inflame to provide higher levels of focus to meet a challenge, whether it be a college test or job interview. However, an abnormal level of anxiety, or anxiety that persists long after the immediate challenge has passed, is an unhealthy state and constitutes a mental health issue. Sustained anxiety is a major cause of social phobias and panic disorders. For some people, anxiety becomes the norm, in what is known clinically as a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). 

Nearly one in three U.S. households currently live with student loan debt. Financial stress is often a contributing factor to anxiety. When an individual has recurring anxiety related to finances (often the case with student loans) it can lead to an emotional and mental environment that leads to depression and other health issues.

Anxiety and stress rank highest among mental health complaints of college students. A study by the American College Health Association (ACHA) of college students found that stress and anxiety were the top non-academic factors determining a student’s academic success. Students in the study reported periods of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, both of which are linked to anxiety. Students described their symptoms as damaged memory and an inability to process one’s thoughts. On the emotional side, students compared the inability to relax and have a good time and a tendency to procrastinate to more serious emotional problems like depression. Physical symptoms associated with anxiety include rapid heartbeat, nausea, and dizziness. This can be curbed with a few tips to cope with your student loan stress.

Although anxiety is generally associated with personal, social or financial triggers, factors in one’s environment can also play a part. Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep patterns, diet, neurochemical imbalances, and chemical pollutants in the atmosphere can also factor as triggers or accelerators of anxiety. Coping with anxiety is not a very easy task, here are some tips to cope with your student loan stress.

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Four Tips to Reduce Student Loan Debt Stress

  1. Settle Your Monthly Payments

 One of the best tips to cope with your student loan stress is deciding on how much you will be able to pay every month. If your budget is being eaten up by your student loans, you may want to renegotiate the amount of money you pay each month. This won’t be an option for every loan, but it’s worth asking your loan provider if you can lower your monthly payment amount slightly. Yes, it will take longer to pay the loan off, but it also means that you’ll be able to manage a more realistic budget each month. If your income increases in the future, you can increase your monthly payment amount to the bank.

  1. Debt Forgiveness

Depending on what type of loans you have and what type of work you do, you may be eligible for some form of student loan forgiveness. If you have federal student loans, you can qualify for student loan forgiveness by going into certain public service professions, such as teaching. It’s worth checking to see if you fit the criteria for student loan forgiveness, as it can significantly lower the amount of money you pay in the long run. 

  1. Don’t Hold Back Too Much

While applying these tips to cope with your student loan stress, don’t cancel out on having fun. When you feel like you’re drowning in debt, it can seem like the only solution is to cut out expenses for ‘fun’ activities. And while it’s important to cut back, you shouldn’t completely cut out the things that make you happy. If you love to go out to eat with friends and you completely stop, you might start feeling more stressed. Instead, look for an affordable substitute to party, like having a dinner party at home or going to an affordable happy hour instead of a trendy new restaurant.

  1. Ways To Unwind If You’re Stressed About Student Loans

There are many other ways on how to reduce student loan stress or stress in general. For example:

  • Try breathing exercises for relaxation.
  • Soak in a warm bath.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Practice mindful meditation.
  • Write.
  • Use guided imagery.

PS: If there’s anything more you’d like us to know about. Add it to the comments section!

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Kimberly Linhares

From reading cheesy young adult novels to writing reviews about them. Books, have been an escape from reality. Writing, to capture a little bit of everything about my versatile lifestyle. Let’s talk but first grab some coffee!

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