The Brain/Credit Card Connection and Your Relationship


You are likely carrying around an emotional connection, and therefore, baggage, you didn’t even know you had. It’s a connection between your brain and your credit card debt; between your thoughts and feelings and why and how you spend money. It helps explain your views on money and debt and why you react to these things in certain ways.

Knowing about these connections and your money patterns won’t excuse you from financial problems you might face, but you can help nip these problems, and any repercussions they might have, in the bud.

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I call these brain/money connections the Biochemical Craving for Connection.”  It starts when stress  causes thrill-seeking behavior. The stress can be linked as far back as childhood but can also be due to recent pain or emotional distress. 

The thrill-seeking behavior can be in the form of financial or sexual conquests and infidelities.

You’re looking for ways to self-medicate and to help calm stress levels down. At the same time, these indiscretions give you another kind of high and the cycle starts: Give into sexual or financial pressure to help relieve stress, feel a “high” for a moment, then return to stressful feelings about the situation. Eventually, the only thing that can help your problem is the problem itself!

Areas in the Brain That Communicate With Each Other

There are several areas in the brain that communicate with each other to influence emotion. When it comes to dealing with extreme behaviors such as addiction, infidelity and poor decision making, these areas may be involved:

*The limbic system is made up of several structures that work together to control emotion, hormonal secretions, moods and pain/pleasure reflexes.

*The hippocampus is a structure within the limbic system and plays a role in emotion. If this area is damaged, it can reduce your ability to distinguish safe and dangerous situation, leading you to seek out situations that may FEEL safe, but in reality, aren’t. Things like sexual affairs or financial infidelity.

*The ventral striatum and the nucleus accumbens help process satisfaction and happiness. These areas are also associated with assessing risk reward and gratification. When these areas aren’t functioning properly, people may get involved with addictive behaviors leading to things like gambling, affairs, etc., in order to stimulate pleasure responses.

For people struggling with things like debt  and/or financial infidelity, it’s helpful to figure out if these areas of the brain are coming into play. It’s also helpful to figure out what types of stressors may have triggered the Biochemical Craving for Connection in the first place so you can deal with the root cause.

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