(BPT) - Money is a taboo topic - we're taught not to talk about it from the time we're kids. But research shows it's also a source of stress, anxiety and tension for most Americans.
In fact, 64 percent of adults experience stress about money, ranking it a higher source of stress than work, family responsibilities and health, according to a recent study by the American Psychological Association. And it's affecting our health - 66 percent of all doctor's office visits last year were due to stress-related health issues.
'People commonly deal with stress by avoiding what makes them anxious,' says Eve Callahan, executive vice president of communications for Umpqua Bank. 'While avoiding your finances can create more anxiety in the long term, the good news is that having a simple conversation with someone you trust is a powerful step forward.'
How do you start?
Money and finances are an essential part of our lives. They dictate countless decisions large and small, from where we live and work to the cars we drive and the foods we eat. In short, the way we approach our finances determines how we're able to grow and reach our full potential.
The fact is, dealing with money doesn't have to be stressful. With a few small steps, it's possible to change the way we think and talk about money, creating new possibilities for financial and personal growth along the way.
Getting started can be the hardest part. Inspiration is a powerful motivator - and it's all around us. Look for creative expressions of growth that inspire you at your favorite museum, outdoors or online at websites like MadetoGrow.com, which is chock-full of compelling content and stories of overcoming challenges.
2. Dream big, act small.
Whether your dream is to spend a year in Thailand, turn your love of cooking into a business or pay off your credit card debt, each dream begins with a first step. Break your dream into smaller actions to make the mountain smaller. Set deadlines along the way to give yourself the satisfaction of achieving milestones. Setting small goals and deadlines will help you stay motivated to keep going.
3.Adopt the buddy system.
Finances are like fitness - having a support system in place before you start can make all the difference in your success. Find a friend or loved one in a similar financial situation and open up about your financial challenges, hopes and dreams. Consider creating a community group with others to share tips and learnings with one another.
4. Talk leads to action.
Get out there and talk about it. For too long, money has been a forbidden topic that we've been conditioned to avoid. Seek out someone you trust - a friend, family member, your bank - and dive in! Looking for an example to get you started? Podcasts are a great source of inspiration. Open Account with SuChin Pak is a great example of open and honest conversations about all aspects of money and life.
5. Find a partner that believes.
You've opened up, now what? Find a bank that's dedicated to helping customers realize their full potential. Build a relationship with a financial advisor that understands your dreams and can help you reach your goals. Set up regular check in meetings to discuss progress, challenges and opportunities. The right partner will listen to your goals and identify tools and resources to help.
Ready to get started? Find more resources to start your conversation at www.madetogrow.com.