Mortgage stress is one specific kind of stress about the future. We all know that the modern world is very stressful but not everyone appreciates how poorly human bodies are adapted to deal with it.
Hundreds of thousands of generations pretty much only had to worry about hunting and gathering, avoiding those neighboring Lions and keeping that fire going.
Stress for our ancestors was dealt with by flooding the body with chemicals ready for action – either fight (“let’s sort out that leopard once and for all guys!”) or flight (“guys, I’m not sure these wooden spears are much use against that charging elephant – run!”).
Sadly, the modern world isn’t like that.
Yes, we still might need to keep the barbie going but we also must worry about the mortgage on the garden and house too. It’s generally frowned upon these days to threaten your Bank Manager with a fire-hardened spear, though chances are you could still outrun them.
Stress affects many of us most when we can’t seem to do anything about the source of it. Our body is flooded with all these fight and flight chemicals but there’s nothing to do with them.
These chemicals are great and perfectly healthy for action sports and doing many kinds of energetic activities. How much should we have when sitting at home thinking about or finances? – well, all the research and science says as little as possible.
What is Mortgage Stress?
There are different definitions of exactly what constitutes mortgage stress, which can be put at a range of figures of having to pay 25% or more of your income towards your mortgage.
At Safe Place Therapy, we don’t agree with putting a financial figure on exactly what constitutes this mental worry. If you feel stressed out, anxious or depressed about any aspect of your mortgage, then you have Mortgage Stress.
The amount of mortgage stress Australia has overall at any one time depends on the general economic outlook but just about any kind of Australian can suffer from it.
First steps in dealing with Mortgage Stress
One area we cover at Safe Place Therapy is living in the ‘now’.
This is all about how we deal with the past, the future and the present. It’s a very effective first step in dealing with all the issues that can arise through worrying about mortgages.
It’s very unhealthy and counter-productive living in the past. Dwelling on past mistakes, miscalculations, misfortunes or grievances really don’t get you anywhere. What’s more, it blights you ‘here and now’ and can impact your mental and physical well-being as well as hurting those around you.
In the context of Mortgages, and Mortgage Stress. Supposing in the past you were given bad financial advice failed to follow good advice or were simply unlucky. Drowning yourself in regret and bitterness does no good at all. In fact, it makes things worse.
It’s equally unhealthy and counter-productive constantly worrying about the future.
The future is unknowable and there’s little point worrying and “catastrophizing” about something that may never happen. How is this impacting living and relationships?
Well, again, focusing on the future rather than on the present will hit your well-being and the well-being of your loved ones, friends and maybe even work colleagues. That’s not to say don’t plan or prepare or investigate contingencies. Those are all positive actions.
What’s not positive is allowing fear of what might happen to take over your thinking. Then you end up with a whole range of symptoms which can include sleepless nights, poor concentration at work, lack of sex drive, stomach aches and other complaints, overeating (or under-eating), irritability, drinking etc.
You feel like you are living under a cloud and just getting through each day. Life has lost its taste. If any or all this sounds familiar, you may have a condition known as ‘situational low mood’. Put a little simplistically, that means you are suffering from a form of depression that is caused by something in your situation, rather than having some other cause.
The good news is that all this can be treated and fully cured.
How to deal successfully with Mortgage Stress
The first bit of good news is that you have reached this far in reading this article. That’s great because you already have taken two important steps – realizing you have something you need help on and starting to look for the right help.
At Safe Place Therapy one area we can really help on, is how to live in the present and get the most from every day. If you have serious Mortgage stress, it’s critically important to get the right kind of help.
Don’t try to fix the problem all by yourself, or by talking to people who won’t know how to help you and give you good-intentioned but ineffective advice. It might sound flippant, but it is not, to say that if you have a bad tooth, you wouldn’t try to pull it out yourself or ask a friend to do it would you?
You would go to a reputable dentist, who has the training, expertise and experience to fix your tooth issue. It’s pretty much the same thing with Mortgage Stress.
If you have the ‘psychic bad tooth’ of Mortgage Stress, we can help. We have the training, expertise and experience in this specialist area. Conventional therapy might not be as effective. We also strongly recommend you avoid unscientific New Age’ or pseudo-therapies that have no basis in evidence.
We are ‘in your corner’ and we won’t judge you, lecture you, preach or criticize. Our counselling is strictly confidential, so you need not worry if any of your information is sensitive.
Anyone who has never done therapy can have some common misconceptions about it. We aren’t going to lie you on a couch and hypnotize you. Instead, you’ll find our counsellors normal, friendly, understanding, decent and kind.
Every individual is fundamentally different from every other individual and each of us has unique life circumstances. So, we won’t label you, categorize you, or apply a ‘one size fits all’ approach.