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Debt stress and anxiety: How to get out from under

Americans owe more than $1 trillion in student loan debt. The total credit card debt for all U.S. households is more than $850 billion, while mortgage payments add up to more than $8 trillion.

In total, U.S. households owe more than $11 trillion in debt, up 3.7 percent over last year, according to the American Household Credit Card Debt Statistic. It's enough to stress anyone out.

If you're one of the many trying to pay off this type of debt, you may carry financial anxiety constantly. For many, money is equivalent to stress. But there are ways to reduce your stress—and your debt load.

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Dr. Deepak Chopra is a physician, best-selling author and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing—a place where people can experience emotional freedom and physical healing through guiding principles that restore balance and nurture health. To help the endless worries over money, he recommends three strategies:

1. Don't spend money that you don't have.

The most practical way to begin is to not "spend money that you haven't earned to buy things that you don't need to impress people that you don't like," Chopra said. That mind-set, he explained, is essential in preventing an unnecessary buildup of debt.

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2. Buy experience, not things.

Although many studies show that money can't buy happiness, Dr. Chopra recommends that if you are going to splurge, buy experience, not things.

"You'll get bored with whatever you buy in a few months, but if you spend it on an experience like going on a vacation or going with your family for dinner or watching a movie, then you have the experience to look forward to," he said.

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3. Save at least 10 percent of what you earn.

Finally, Dr. Chopra recommends making sure that you "save a little bit every month, even if it's 10 percent of what you earn." Sticking to this principle early on can make a great impact in overcoming financial stress.

Personal Finance

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