5 Banking Triggers Affecting Your Mental Health + How to Work Through Them

For Mental Health Awareness Month, we looked at 5 of the most common issues in banking that cause overwhelming stress and broke down solutions to each. If any of these sound familiar, you’re not alone and there’s a better way!

Mental health has been so stigmatized throughout history...

that even in today’s culture of self-help and self-care, there’s still a lot of resistance to doing the one most important thing we can do in the bodies we’re given: take care of ourselves. That’s not to say you should shrink yourself into an internal world of self-reliance, disregarding and neglecting others and the personal relationships you’ve developed. To the contrary, strengthening your own well-being leads to stronger relationships and interpersonal skills.

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ve taken a look at some of the ways financial stress in particular can wear you down, how to recognize these stressors and how to get past them.

The road to better wellness isn’t paved with spa days...

and eating the greasiest burger you can find every time you feel like you’re headed for a mental breakdown. Think of these more as pit stops along your expedition that refresh you and get you back to your ultimate destination. Okay, the burger may not be exactly refreshing, but if you’ve ever had a roadside burger, you know it’s at least fulfilling.

Financial stressors are your economic conditions or situations that trigger stress. Let’s take a look at 5 of the most common ones and their solutions:


1. Compulsively spending.

When you find yourself spending money on random things like a trailing 1950s-esque robe with faux fur and 5 pairs of Vans in the same style but different colors (which this author definitely has NOT done), it could be a sign you’re bored, attempting to fill a void or trying to find internal comfort through external outlets, and could even point to more serious mental illnesses. With stay-at-home orders and the accessibility of online shopping, spiraling down the add-to-cart rabbit hole is tough to avoid but not impossible.

2. Being in a relationship with someone who is poor at money management.

Some people are easy to love in spite of their faults, but that doesn’t mean those faults are easy to love. And they can do some serious damage to your bank account. Whether you have a significant other that needs to be more money mindful or the relationship is with yourself, we got some work to do.

3. Forgetting to pay a bill.

Realizing you missed a bill payment can induce some major anxiety and negative internal dialogues. You may hear that little voice in your head worry about whether the electric is going to get shut off, or if the lender considers you too risky to give you another car loan, or asking yourself how you allowed it to happen. You’re not alone in this. It happens to just about everyone at some point, and the world has yet to end because of it.

4. Over-drafting your account.

Have you ever heard of the ‘infinity overdraft’? Probably not because I just now made up the term, but the concept of getting caught in an infinite overdraft cycle is very real. With big banks earning $11.68 billion last year from their customers in overdraft fees, it can feel almost predatory and hopeless. You are not prey, and you can put yourself back in control.

5. Feeling like you’re drowning in debt.

Debt relief is a one-of-a-kind beast that can tear down the smartest, most financially cautious person. Though it feels a lot like quicksand, dragging you further under the more you struggle to get out, there are solutions to getting back on your feet. It takes time and effort, but it’s so much better than drinking in that sand, unable to quench a perpetually dry throat.


1. Identify what it is that’s causing your need to overindulge with the treat yo’ self mentality.

Are you bored, sad, trying to keep up with social media influencers, spending money on others because it’s your way of making them happy and keeping them from abandoning you? I think I’ve personally wounded myself with that last one. When your mind starts wandering to your next unnecessary purchase, put on your walking shoes and wander on a nature walk away from shopping temptation. And don’t you dare buy a new pair of shoes just for this!

2. Find resources that make learning money management feel less like a chore and more like a hobby.

Most credit unions and banks offer some type of tool that allows you to set budgets, learn about different financial topics and set goals on your own timeline. At SunWest, we use MoneyEdu. You don’t need to read every financial guru’s 500-page book about how to get rich from nothing. Start with a simple, interactive tool that lets you learn gradually. You’ll be surprised how many people discover an affinity for managing money once it’s broken down to the basics. Bottom line: invest in each other’s development. It’ll only strengthen your relationship.

3. Accept that you made a mistake, and treat yourself with some grace.

Whatever company you forgot to pay has seen it before, and they know you’re worth more than this one mistake. Call the company right away (procrastinating will only make you more anxious) and set up an arrangement to make up the payment. For payments going forward, set up autopay. Now, this only works if you have money in the account when your payment is due, so here’s another EASY TIP: set a reminder on your phone for 1-2 weeks before your due date!

4. Break the cycle by finding more sustainable resources when your checking account is a little low.

Link your savings account as an overdraft option for your checking and keep a set amount of money in that savings that you don’t touch unless it’s a dire emergency. If you make a purchase for more than you have in your checking, the savings will automatically back it up so you don’t get declined or charged an overdraft. If you aren’t a money saver, look into a Personal Line of Credit that can act in this same way. Using a Line of Credit means you’ll pay interest, although it’s usually much less than an overdraft fee and is good to have in a pinch.

5. Combine as much of your debt as you can to one loan, so you can focus on making as few monthly payments as possible.

Crippling debt sends a lot of people over the edge. In a world that is predominantly ruled by money, there needs to be a focus on how to have a healthy relationship with it. Debt consolidation can seem overwhelming, but it actually simplifies problems a lot. Look for personal loans with low interest rates or, if you own a home, an equity loan like a Home Equity Line of Credit or Second Mortgage. Add up all your debt and look at combining it into one manageable monthly payment. A lot of times with debt, it can seem more daunting than it is because we’re constantly having bills thrown in our face. Reducing the frequency of having to pay and the amount of creditors we have to pay can greatly reduce the constant stress.

Mental Health Awareness Month is a great reminder to evaluate your own well-being, but it’s also a reminder to be mindful of others and their struggles.

Take this time to identify your financial stressors and how to move past them, help others do the same, and make sure to stay in that mindset beyond just when social media starts trending with mental health hashtags.

Financial strain can cause major setbacks in your emotional well-being, so along with making sure you’re getting enough water and reminding yourself that you are worth all the good you get and so much more, reach out when you need help. Though it may sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, there are a lot of people out there that want to help you set it down.

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Register for free on MoneyEdu for resources to reduce stress and create financial balance in your life.

May 25, 2021

Published by SunWest Credit Union

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