Economic Trauma: Let poverty not stick with you for life

By Sande Elison Oundo

When we talk about health and causes of diseases we often don’t consider financial wellbeing to be one.
Unfortunately, financial health has deep consequences both in our immediate health manifesting as stress, anxiety, addiction, insomnia, obesity and hypertension to later in life with diseases like diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart attack, post-traumatic stress disorder and dementia. It can also lead to divorce/ dysfunctional families.

Trauma is defined as an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Economic trauma in this regard can be seen as an emotional response to absolute or relative poverty in one’s life. This has been observed to be disastrous and can become generational trauma with far-reaching consequences.

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Economic trauma can impact a person from the time of being in the uterus as a fetus, to the early formative years to school performance, friendship building, truancy, drug addiction, intimate relationships in the future, and repeating the cycle of generational trauma.

Economic trauma can even lead to infertility in women due to the body’s response to stress as uninhabitable for the baby hence rendering the body infertile.

For a fun fact, do you know that the reason lifestyle diseases are more rampant and fatal to African people is because of the fact that our ancestors grow up was so many hardships that our genes are wired for scarcity and not abundance so the availability of high-quality and quantity food? This means that our bodies absorb more than it requires hence predisposing us to lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer.

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Basically, we all have the ability and capacity of overcoming the trauma caused by poverty; the following have been highlighted as key actions/solutions and as such if well embraced the fight against the effects of generational poverty can be won.

  1. Becoming financially literate to avoid perpetuating a generational trauma to siblings and children/spouse. 2. Finding mentors who went through similar struggles but triumphed.
  2. Learning healthier ways of managing stressful activities of daily living which do not involve drugs/ exposure to hospitalization or any other activity with long-term financial consequences.
  3. When the relationship with your future spouse is becoming official, ensure to have a financial
    discussion with them and assess their background to
    avoid future conflicts, financial issues are one the commonest causes of divorces between couples. 5. Cutting off a lot of family members, relatives and friends, who will be an unnecessary burden on you and can even compromise your future with
    dependency aspects.
  4. Forgiving yourself and your parents for your upbringing and the financial hurdles you faced as a child. 7. Psychotherapy to heal from the trauma and Coaching for financial growth.

In a nutshell, economic trauma or generational poverty has the capacity to derail one’s personal growth and development and as a matter of fact ending poverty is the number one goal for the United Nations and thus approaching it holistically is worth a meaningful, productive and longer life.

Sande Elison Oundo is a holistic health practitioner and President of Vigilant Living, A counseling and coaching company.

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