How to deal with financial grief
It is an exaggeration to claim that “money is the root of all evil,” but it is difficult to deny that money problems can become a great source of financial grief. Countless therapists work with clients who have experienced financial catastrophe due to major life changes and market collapse. As The Wisdom Journal suggests, however, there is a definite psychological path out of the woods of financial hardship.
The horrors of our financial lives
The U.S. economy is slowly recovering from the depths of recession, but it still has a long way to go. Individuals and their families have experienced unemployment, foreclosure, loss of retirement funds and more. These things happen every day, and consumers who are interested in dealing with the grief seek coping strategies.
Psychotherapist Bobbi Emel, who has a private practice in Los Altos, Calif., sees the financial grief people feel in these situations as a classic fit for the type of grief associated with loss. Financial loss is stressful, because it places a strain upon a consumer’s ability to maintain the expected standard of living. The resulting feelings, from sadness and anger to anxiety, shock and intense yearning, are very human reactions to financial catastrophe. Difficulty concentrating, sleeping, eating and more are common symptoms.
The web-work of grief
According to Emel, all of this and more are signposts on the journey through financial grief. It is a sticky emotional web-work from which it is difficult to escape unless the sufferer can recognize the feelings and their source. Once the individual recognizes this, that person can begin to address the situation and go about dealing with the grief. Rather than being too embarrassed to admit weakness and assuming that they’ll be considered a failure for seeking help, the financial grief sufferer should seek assistance.
What follows are potential steps for dealing with financial grief. Match Financial is not a licensed psychotherapist, so if you require assistance beyond what Bobbi Emel suggests, consult with a mental health expert in person.
How to deal with financial grief – the steps
Accepting that you have a problem is the first step, notes Emel. You have experienced financial hardship, and the result has been a financial catastrophe. From an emotional standpoint, you must not deny the symptoms. Be realistic and understand what needs to be repaired within.
On this journey toward wellness, surrounding yourself with loving individuals who can provide you with support is important. Friends and family who love you unconditionally will continue to love you even after you’ve admitted your financial grief. They can help you build a bridge over rivers of grief.
Get your bearings while on the bridge
Once a support system is in place, it becomes easier to gain a healthier perspective on your feelings. It becomes easier to remember that you’ve been through hard times before and lived to tell the tale, and you can do so again. Emel advises individuals suffering from financial grief to remain “in the moment,” rather than ruminating over past financial hardship and catastrophe. Budgets can be resuscitated by a fresh plan and a solid source of income. Grief must be handled internally.
Remember the good things
The saying “don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers” applies well to the process of dealing with financial grief. Focusing on the positive aspects of life while working to rebuild emotionally after a financial catastrophe can aid in the healing process. Part of being resilient is also recognizing that some aspects of tough times help to make us better people, notes Emel.
“Remember, the sand that irritates the oyster often becomes a pearl,” she writes.