Financial Woes Are the Top Mental Health Stressor for Employees

A new series on Calm supports employees in combating financial stress and moving towards financial wellness.

Financial stress program on Calm

The Calm Team

5 min read

Employees are losing sleep over money. In fact, the rising cost of living and financial instability represent the top stressors negatively impacting employee mental health, according to Calm’s survey of more than 4,000 adults in the US, UK, Germany, and India. Worries about money have a cascading effect: About 60% of employees who experience anxiety or trouble sleeping say it affects their performance at work.

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With inflation beginning to cool in the US, it’s tempting to believe that employees will start to feel better about their finances. But the cost of living remains high, which affects everyone but especially lower-income workers who spend a larger share of their pay on food and rent. More than half (52%) of employees say they’re actively looking for an additional source of income to help them pay the bills, potentially creating even more stress in their lives. 

Navigating emotions around money

They’re not just trying to navigate the world of money. They’re trying to navigate the negative thoughts and emotions—including embarrassment, jealousy, and shame—that often go hand-in-hand with financial pressure and stigma. 

New Calm series supports employees struggling with financial stress

To help employees combat financial stress and get in the mindset to move toward financial wellness, Calm has launched Navigating Financial Stress, a new series developed in consultation with independent Certified Financial Planner Kelley C. Long, CPA/PFS, CFP®. Long has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and is an independent financial coach and workplace financial wellness consultant.

Navigating Financial Stress uses mindfulness tools to address the challenging thoughts and emotions that arise around finances. The goal is to help listeners alleviate their anxiety related to money, reframe uncertainty, and gain clarity and confidence, ultimately helping them improve their relationships with money and themselves.

Narrated by Long, the program focuses on a shift in mindset, which for many people is the most important step in moving toward financial wellness. For strategies and tips to help employees manage their finances more effectively, watch Calm’s on-demand webinar, Tackling Employee Financial Stress at Your Organization.

The six sessions in Navigating Financial Stress   

Money Stories

Kelley guides listeners to explore their beliefs about money. She helps them discover their “money stories”—deeply held, subconscious beliefs that are holding them back—and then release their mental blocks.


When it comes to money, we compare ourselves to others, to previous generations, and to our own expectations. Kelley unpacks all three types of comparisons and helps listeners refocus their attention in a more supportive way.


It’s common to bottle up emotions related to a tough financial situation, because there’s a ton of stigma attached to sharing one’s anxieties, fears, and uncertainties around money. Kelley helps listeners break through the stigma and find safe spaces to share, helping relieve feelings of anxiousness and being alone.

Control What You Can 

Concerns about money can quickly spiral into overwhelming fear and anxiety, but it’s possible to reframe one’s mindset. Kelley walks listeners through an exercise to get to the root of their fears, regain perspective, and focus on what they can control. 

Shame, Guilt, and Self-Judgment

Money can trigger all sorts of emotions but perhaps the most common feelings are guilt, shame, and self-judgment. In this session, she walks listeners through a practice of self-compassion to help them let go of preconceptions and biases and move past the emotions that keep them stuck.  

Mindful Money Habits

We make financial decisions every day, and sometimes we’re acting out of habit rather than intention. Kelley helps listeners become aware of what they do with money every day as well as why and how, so that they can become a little more mindful in their actions.  

Employers are focused on addressing financial stress

Calm’s research found that two-thirds of HR/benefits leaders recognize the impact of financial stress on their employees’ mental health. More than three-quarters of HR/Benefits leaders said they want to address financial stress in the next two years. A great first step is supporting employees in combating negative emotions around money so they can move in the direction of financial wellness. 

For more information on reducing the impact of financial stress on employee mental health, connect with our Calm specialist today

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