Why Is Tax Day Dangerous to Your Health?

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photo by Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything give thanks.
Philippians 4:6

by Dr. Megan Jones

 

Consider these facts:

  • You are more likely to die in a car accident on Tax Day (due to a spike in driver stress levels).
  • 56% of US adults say the tax-filing process is stressful, 18% consider it "very stressful." [Source: Zogby Interactive Survey]
  • Tax Day was tied as the 2nd most stressful day of the year (1st place was a day with mass tornados). [Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index]
  • About 75% of Americans cite money as a significant cause of stress. [Source: American Psychological Association]

So with Tax Day nearly here, what can you do to better cope with the tax-time stress pandemic? The solution comes in four steps:

Step #1: Pivot your perspective
Because your chance of feeling daily stress is the same if you make $40K per year versus $160K per year, realize that more money does not make you less stressed—but your attitude about money can.

Step #2: Look forward, not back
For many couples, conflict arises during tax season because one partner tends to spend more while the other saves more. Rather than looking back at what each of you did in 2014, use tax time to make 2015 financial resolutions.

Step #3: Be proactive
Because money-related stress is often related to a feeling of helplessness, choose a simple action (such as selling an old item on Craigslist), that you can implement immediately to start positively impacting your savings.

Step #4: Box it up
To manage different sources of stress, visualize "boxes" where you can put each stressful obligation when you're not actively engaged with it. Avoid thinking about tax and money issues until you consciously decide to take them out of a mental box.

Dr. Megan Jones is a Stanford psychologist who also serves as chief science officer of Lantern professional coaching.

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