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  • Dealing With The Mental Drain of Debt

    Chris O'Shea

    Pulling yourself out of debt can be a lot easier said than done. You know how much paying down the credit card will help your credit score. You know being late on the phone bill only makes things worse. Yet, all to often the debt keeps piling up. And as studies have shown, the worse you feel about your finances, the worse you’re likely to feel overall. One way to break down the debt-repayment barriers is to reframe how you think of the financial burden. Here are some tips to help you do that.

    Find a Mantra 

    It might seem cliche, but one way to deal with the stress of debt is to come up with an affirming mantra. It can be as simple as “I am in debt, but I am not a bad person.” Say it over and over again. Debt isn’t good, but it doesn’t help to dwell on it. Think about the reasons you got into debt, take some lessons from that, and move on.

    Get Real 

    The most difficult step in dealing with the mental obstacle of debt is actually looking at the cold, hard numbers. But it must be done. Take a real look at what you owe and let it sink in. Then, as The Cut suggests, react in any way that feels cathartic (but not personally damaging!). Yell into a pillow, punch the couch, cry. Whatever works.

    Form a Plan 

    Once you’ve had time to process the numbers, find some ways to cut down on spending and — if possible — add a bit of extra, short-term income (not just by working extra hours, selling things you’re no longer using also works). When you know how much you can afford to dedicate to debt, focus on the debt with the highest interest rate first. Keep your focus on that debt and that debt alone until you have it paid down. Having one simple goal can be helpful. And every dent you make in your debt will have a great impact on the mental blockade you were dealing with.

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