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Exploring the Relationship Between Anxiety and Poverty (plus 5 tips to manage anxiety) 

Date: April 26, 2024
Est. Reading: 6 minutes

We’ve all felt butterflies in our stomachs before going to the dentist, taking an exam, or entering a job interview. 

Anxiety is a normal part of life, and at low levels, it serves an essential role in informing us about our surroundings and helping us prepare for the future. However, anxiety becomes a problem when it is constantly present at high levels. 

If you’ve ever experienced financial stressors or lost your job, you know the feeling. At RaiseUp Families, we support families facing financial stress and the anxiety that comes with it. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the link between anxiety and poverty and offer solutions for when this happens. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Table of Contents 

  • What is Anxiety 
  • Anxiety and Poverty
  • 5 Tips to Manage Anxiety  
  • How RaiseUp Families Can Help

What is Anxiety 

The word anxiety gets thrown around a lot and doesn’t always refer to the same thing. After all, worrying that the new Stanley Quencher cup will be sold out before you make it to Target is very different from being anxious about whether you’ll have enough money for groceries this week. 

So, let’s define what we mean by anxiety. Here’s how the American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety: 

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure. Anxiety is not the same as fear, but they are often used interchangeably. Anxiety is considered a future-oriented, long-acting response broadly focused on a diffuse threat. In contrast, fear is an appropriate, present-oriented, and short-lived response to a clearly identifiable and specific threat.

Exploring the Relationship Between Anxiety and Poverty (plus 5 tips to manage anxiety) 

Anxiety has many symptoms, including, 

  • Nervous, restless, or tense feelings
  • Feeling impending danger, panic, or doom
  • Fast heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Stomach or digestive  problems
  • Difficulty controlling worry or racing thoughts
  • The urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

These are difficult symptoms to manage, and prolonged anxiety can cause health problems and trouble with daily functions. 

So, how do anxiety and poverty interact? Let’s break it down. 

Anxiety and Poverty

Anxiety can have a significant impact on poverty and often helps perpetuate a cycle of financial instability. Here are some examples of how anxiety influences poverty and its maintenance.

1. Impaired Decision-Making 

Anxiety can impair decision-making abilities, leading individuals to make choices that may not be in their best financial interest. Anxiety can be a double-edged sword and cause too much caution or impulsivity. This can result in poor financial decisions like taking on high-interest loans or missing out on opportunities for economic growth.

Exploring the Relationship Between Anxiety and Poverty (plus 5 tips to manage anxiety) 

2. Reduced Work Performance 

Anxiety can affect work performance by causing difficulties with concentration, focus, and productivity. This can lead to job instability, lower wages, and limited career advancement opportunities, ultimately contributing to financial insecurity and poverty.

3. Healthcare Costs

Individuals experiencing anxiety may face higher healthcare costs due to the need for mental health treatment and medication. Plus, prolonged, high anxiety levels can contribute to other health concerns like digestive problems, weakened immune systems, heart disease, and high blood pressure. These additional expenses can strain limited financial resources and make it harder to break out of poverty.

4. Limited Job Opportunities
Anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as social anxiety or performance anxiety, which may impact an individual's ability to secure and maintain certain types of jobs. This can lead to job loss, gaps in employment, and reduced income, all of which contribute to poverty.

5. Debt and Financial Stress

Debt and financial stress can cause a lot of anxiety, which can then contribute to financial stress. It quickly becomes an overwhelming, vicious cycle. Anxiety can contribute to more impulsive spending, reliance on high-cost credit options, and debt accumulation can further exacerbate financial struggles. 

6. Lack of Access to Resources

Individuals experiencing financial instability and anxiety may face barriers in accessing resources and support services that could help improve their mental health or financial situation. Unfortunately, communities that need resources the most are the ones that have the most significant lack and the most barriers. This lack of access to resources, such as affordable mental health services, financial education, or employment assistance, can hinder their ability to overcome poverty. 

By understanding how anxiety influences poverty and its maintenance, it becomes clear that addressing both mental health and financial well-being is crucial in breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting economic stability for individuals experiencing anxiety. 

Ok, take a deep breath. 

There is hope. Let’s look at some ways to manage anxiety and break out of the cycle it perpetuates.

5 Tips to Manage Anxiety  

First of all, if you are facing anxiety that is interfering with your daily life, please seek the help of a professional therapist or psychiatrist. Many therapists offer sliding-scale payment options or pro-bono services, so don’t let costs keep you from reaching out. 

That being said, here are five quick tips to help regulate anxiety. 

  1. Practice Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing exercises can help calm your mind and body by activating the body's relaxation response. Techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery can be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms.
Exploring the Relationship Between Anxiety and Poverty (plus 5 tips to manage anxiety) 
  1. Stay Active: Regular physical activity can help reduce anxiety by releasing endorphins, natural stress-fighting hormones. Do activities you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, yoga, or dancing, to help alleviate anxiety symptoms and improve overall well-being.
  1. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate anxiety symptoms, so one way to reduce symptoms is to moderate your intake. Caffeine can increase heart rate and contribute to feelings of jitteriness, which your body can misinterpret as anxiety. Alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns and worsen anxiety over time. Opt for herbal teas or water instead. 
  1. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: Mindfulness meditation can help you stay grounded in the present moment, reducing worries about the future or regrets about the past. Take time each day to practice mindfulness techniques such as mindful breathing, body scans, or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to cultivate a sense of calm and clarity. There are many simple, free guided meditations on YouTube and numerous smartphone apps
  1. Seek Support: Don't hesitate to contact friends, family, or a mental health professional for support. Talking about your feelings with trusted individuals can provide validation and perspective, while therapy can offer tools and strategies to manage anxiety effectively. Additionally, joining support groups or online communities can connect you with others who understand what you're going through and provide valuable support and encouragement.

Remember that managing anxiety is a journey, and it's essential to be patient and compassionate with yourself as you explore different techniques and strategies to find what works best for you.

How RaiseUp Families Can Help

At RaiseUp Families, we help families in the Houston area who are facing financial hardship so that they can provide their children with a stable home and education. We believe in holistic support. One way we provide this is through our course, Anxiety 101. Here’s an overview of what the course offers.

Exploring the Relationship Between Anxiety and Poverty (plus 5 tips to manage anxiety) 

Anxiety 101: Course Overview

RaiseUp Families aims to foster a greater understanding and acceptance of anxiety as an ordinary human experience and a mental health condition. By shedding light on anxiety and dispelling misconceptions, we strive to diminish the stigma surrounding mental health issues and cultivate a more compassionate and supportive community.

Our series is dedicated to equipping individuals with practical tools and coping mechanisms to navigate anxiety in their everyday lives. By focusing on self-care practices, we seek to enhance mental well-being and alleviate anxiety symptoms.

To achieve these goals, RaiseUp Families provides educational resources on anxiety, shares inspiring personal stories of resilience, hosts interactive workshops and webinars on coping strategies and mindfulness techniques, establishes support groups for mutual sharing and learning, offers guidance on self-care practices, and collaborates with mental health professionals to ensure evidence-based information and support.


If you’re from the Houston area and you or someone you love is struggling with the vicious cycle of anxiety and poverty, don’t hesitate to reach out. If you want to support families facing facial hardship, there are many ways to give or volunteer!  

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Thanks for spending time with us today! Together, we can create a community where individuals feel empowered, understood, and supported in their journey towards managing anxiety and promoting mental wellness and financial stability! 

Helping parents achieve self-sufficiency so they can lead their kids to a brighter future!
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