The Spanish financial drama: 59% admit to having little or no financial security in an emergency or if they lose their job
The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economic stability of Spanish society continues to be present, directly affecting the emotional well-being of the population. According to the latest data from the Cigna study, “ COVID-19 Global Impact ”, personal and family finances are respectively the fourth (30%) and the fifth (29%) cause of stress in Spain, after uncertainty on the future, the risk of contagion by COVID-19 and over-information on the pandemic. The psychological stress experienced by those who suffer from financial problems is called “financial stress”. If suffered continuously, it can become a risk factor favoring the appearance of alterations in the immune system, cardiovascular problems, muscle tension, depression or insomnia, among others.
As shown by the latest wave of surveys conducted by the health insurer, 45% of the population admits to having an unfavorable economic situation, qualifying it as “fair” or “bad”. This position of financial insecurity is particularly present among people over 50, with 57% of respondents in this state, and in the age group between 18 and 24, with a percentage of 48%. Those with the best prospects are millennials (25-34), with 29%, and those between 35 and 49, with 44%.
Financial health of the Spanish
While the financial footprint of the health crisis does not affect the entire population equally, more than half of respondents (54%) indicate that this context has an impact on their situation and their particular economic planning. So much so that 46% say they have problems meeting expenses such as recreational activities or vacations, maintaining the standard of living they were used to before the outbreak of the pandemic (41%), or meeting expenses. fixed expenses as large as the rent or mortgage on your house (39%).
This economic imbalance even leads 6 in 10 to admit to having little or no financial security in the event of an emergency or losing their job, which would further aggravate the state of tension of the Spanish population.
“This year, the adverse circumstances brought on by COVID-19 have tested people’s emotional stability, leading many of them to situations of continuous stress for various reasons: personal finances, uncertainty about the future, fear of contagion. .. This permanent stress, associated with the psychological and physical fatigue typical of the pandemic, undermines, day after day, the quality of life of those who suffer from it and can be the trigger for very different pathologies. For this reason, it should not be ignored, being necessary to take measures to reduce stress levels and regain the balance between our well-being and our integral health ”, says Dr Mara Sánchez, E-Health Medical Manager of Cigna Spain.
What are the consequences of financial stress on health?
There is evidence for the relationship between economic stress and a greater predisposition to suffer from certain pathologies. Here are some of those identified by the Cigna medical service:
Immune system disorders. In severe stress, prolonged maintenance of high levels of glucocorticoids and catecholamines involves suppressing the immune system which increases susceptibility to infections, prolongs infectious processes and can cause problems with coagulation. Cardiovascular illnesses. The heart hurts when there are financial worries. Science has shown1 that it is one of the organs that can be affected by financial insecurity. And it is that this state of constant tension is the great cause of the increase in the secretion of catecholamines, which produce an increase in blood pressure, becoming an important cardiovascular risk factor. Muscle pain. Stress plays a fundamental role in the appearance of this type of discomfort, because it acts directly on the muscles, making them tighten. The problem arises when stress is present for an extended period of time, maintaining tension and causing chronic pain in the body, often in the shoulders, head, neck and lower back. Research2 such as that conducted by some specialists at the University of Virginia shows that financial insecurity not only causes physical pain, but also reduces pain tolerance. Depression or Anxiety It is very common that a picture of chronic stress, in this case caused by an unstable economic situation, promotes the onset of certain mental disorders like anxiety or depression. In the case of anxiety, the response is through a feeling of threat or vigilance at times and, when it comes to depression, the reaction can lead to feelings of sadness, guilt, hopelessness or helplessness. low self esteem. The two are related, and to help prevent them, certain guidelines can be put into practice: trying to change or dealing with situations that cause permanent stress, improving sleep patterns, seeking social and emotional support, adopting a healthy living, etc. Insomnia. Stress affects the hours of sleep and the quality of nighttime rest. According to the aforementioned Cigna study, among those who acknowledged that they were not stressed, only 22% said they slept less than they should and only 29% said they did not get enough rest. Percentages very different from those obtained with stressed respondents: 49% and 43% respectively. This big difference is also present in those who have or do not have a job, with much healthier sleep hygiene being seen in the case of those who have the economic security offered by a job.
All of these symptoms, combined with a lack of concentration, a feeling of constant fatigue or changes in behavior (irritability, listlessness, sadness, etc.) which also cause financial stress, could in turn affect three key aspects of good. – emotional being: family, social environment and work context. In the first two cases, because of the negative impact that a change in behavior of this magnitude can have on the relationships that are maintained with others. Regarding the working environment, because of the direct impact of this situation on motivation, individual performance and productivity at work. Not having confidence in these critical areas can feed back and increase stress levels.
To try to manage as well as possible this situation of instability and uncertainty, it is advisable to bet on a healthy lifestyle, through a balanced and healthy diet, a regular routine which includes a certain type of physical exercise, the practice relaxation exercises or constant contact with family and friends.