Therapy That Works...

Gearing Advantage

Doctors Sylvia and Milton Gearing have been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1985 with compassion and professionalism.

The Gearings implement the latest in psychological research to stay at the cutting edge of their field and bring the most effective and life changing techniques to their clients.

Their methods and strategies have been sharpened over the years, and are now built upon Gearing Up’s Three Gears of Change.

Debt Got You Down? - Aug 9, 2007

Debt Got You Down? Ask Your Body

August 9, 2007

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, CBS 11 News

With more than three-fourths of American families now carrying significant debt, the stress from owing money has become a serious health threat. According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, money is a "top source of stress for adults," and can result in devastating health consequences. Here to tell us more is Channel 21 News Contributor, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Q: Does debt cause more health problems for us?

Dr. Sylvia: Without a doubt, financial debt is a serious trap millions of people experience. Debt leaves you with a feeling of imminent doom, overwhelming stress and as a result more health problems. Research has tied stress to health problems including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stomach disorders such as colitis Overtime, chronic debt leads to chronic worry. We eat too much, smoke too much, drink too much and generally torture ourselves to death over what we owe!

Q: Why is financial debt so difficult for all of us?

Dr. Sylvia: Money is power and in America we define ourselves by what we own and by what we control. Money is a convenient barometer of individual achievement which all of us buy into. Our society seems increasingly divided into the "ridiculously wealthy" and the rest of us who struggle to make a buck. It is difficult to be in debt in the most affluent country in the world! Unfortunately, debt can happen in the blink of an eye and we can lose everything overnight. Such devastating failures can happen when talent, hard work and commitment are all present.

Q: What happens to people when they begin to fall into debt?

Dr. Sylvia: Most of us will either remain in denial or fight back with harder work. However, it those efforts are unrewarded, we can become extremely helpless and are convinced there is nothing they can do to overcome the debt.

Q: What happens when we become helpless with money?

Dr. Sylvia: Nothing good! Hundreds of studies reveal that people with negative thinking tend to transform a temporary setback into the worst catastrophe of the century! Pessimistic prophecies tend to be self-fulfilling and we literally can create more debt by dwelling on what we don't have.

Q: Is one kind of debt worse than another?

Dr. Sylvia: Choice makes the difference! If we choose the stress, we respond better. If we are stressed because of something that happens to us, we can descend into helplessness, which is worse than the stress itself. For example, if you are in debt because you overspent, that is a far different stressor than debt, which is caused by job loss, divorce or illness.

Q: What are the negative effects of chronic financial stress?

Dr. Sylvia:

Literally Makes You Older: Unfortunately, chronic stress, from any source, can affect hormone levels and shift the body's delicate hormonal balance. Your body will age faster if the stress of debt becomes unbearable.

Women Take It Harder: Women might be flocking to plastic surgeons, diet gurus, and personal trainers for physical makeovers, but according to a Health magazine survey, they might want to add financial advisers to the list. One-third of the 940 women surveyed said their financial situation was their number-one worry, topping appearance/weight (20%), job (12%), and health (11%).

Lack of Enjoyment: Neurological studies reveal that people who are suffering from depression view the world as dull and uninteresting. Chronic money stress can literally steal your ability to enjoy your life and to appreciate what you have accomplished.

Q: What are some tips for our viewers struggling with debt?

Dr. Sylvia:

Money is a fleeting, temporary possession. You are more than what you own and greater than the situation you are in.

Break your debt into small, manageable steps that reward your effort to regain your financial footing. Pay it off gradually but consistently.

Never define yourself by the mistakes you make but by the efforts you expend. Real success in life is always defined by your intentions, not by the outcome.