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2023 Tax Season: 6 Ways to Cope with Tax Stress & Anxiety

Every year, Americans scramble to organize their finances, complete their tax forms, and pay their taxes on time. If you find this to be a stressful time, you are not alone.

The American Psychological Association’s Annual Stress in America report shows that money has consistently been ranked a top concern for adults since 2007. “When we ask people what it is that is causing stress in their life, it’s about money and uncertainty,” said Vaile Wright, the group’s psychologist and director of research and special projects.

Younger adults in particular are reporting significant levels of stress related to money. For Gen Z, more than 81% considered money to be significantly stressful, according to the Stress in America report.

The good news is, there are ways to minimize stress and develop better strategies to prepare for the tax filing deadline. Let’s dive in!

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Why is tax season so stressful?

Tax season is a stressful time for a few reasons. For one, there is the pressure of a deadline. Additionally, there is fear around the consequences of making mistakes, and information overload. Lastly, worrying about whether you’ll have enough money to pay what you owe…just to name a few!

Our body responds to stressful situations, like tax season, through a series of biological responses.

Our body goes into what is known as “fight or flight” mode, which leads to the production of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, as well as increased heart rate and blood pressure.

This response is meant to protect us from perceived threats and danger, but over extended periods of time, it can cause harm to our health.

Strategies to Cope with Tax Season Stress

1. Notice unhelpful habits

Do you tend to put things off until the last minute? Studies show that you are more likely to procrastinate if the task you have to do feels boring or overwhelming, if you lack a belief in your ability to complete the task, if there is a fear of failure, or a sense of resentment.

A survey found that 46% of Americans say they fear making mistakes with their taxes, and 17% say they lose sleep during tax season.

All of these things could definitely come into play around taxes! It is understandable why we procrastinate doing our taxes, but the more we put them off, the higher our anxiety will be.

(PS- it may be helpful to know that even if you do make a mistake, unless you've committed egregious tax fraud on purpose, you're not going to jail!)

2. Make a plan

You can reduce feelings of stress and anxiousness, and overcome procrastination, by having a plan. Book time on your calendar to get all of your tax documents in order, create a schedule for completing your taxes, and make a checklist of everything you need to do.

3. Seek out support

Seeing as one of the main reasons people procrastinate is due to a lack of belief in your ability to complete the task, and fear of failure, it can be extremely important for your mental health to get some help with your taxes. Utilize financial support and resources whether you file your taxes on your own or hire a tax professional to do them for you.

The IRS offers taxpayers many free online tools and resources. The IRS also offers free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. Electronic filing services like TurboTax or H&R Block are also low-cost options for getting assistance with filing taxes.

4. Talk to someone

For many there can be a lot of guilt and shame around this time, when you have to come face to face with the consequences of your spending habits. It’s better for your mental health to speak with a trusted friend or therapist about how you’re feeling around money, rather than holding it all inside.

5. Practice self-care

Doing your taxes is important, but it’s just as important to take care of yourself! You can’t pour from an empty cup, so be sure to engage in activities that help you relax and manage stress, such as taking a walk, getting a massage, intimate time with a partner, playing sports or whatever else brings you joy.

6. Get stress relief with amino acids GABA and L-Theanine

L-Theanine is an amino acid derived from green tea that is known to promote relaxation and reduce stress. It works by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, like dopamine, serotonin and GABA. L-Theanine can also help to increase alpha brain waves, which are associated with a state of relaxation and focus.

GABA is both a neurotransmitter and an amino acid that helps regulate brain activity and promote a relaxed nervous system. It works by dampening the “fight or flight” response by inhibiting the activity of adrenaline and cortisol.

Our vegan, gluten-free Mood Chews are made with GABA and L-Theanine to quickly reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm, while maintaining focus, so you can approach taxes with calm. You will feel the calming effects within 20-30 min of taking one or two Mood Chews.

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Best of luck this tax season!!