Financial Wisdom for Strong Mental Health

Mental Health

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can affect the relationship between finances and mental health. For example, stable financial health can be a protective factor for mental health, while money worries can be related to increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health concern, please seek the advice of a licensed mental health professional.

Ten Pieces of Financial Wisdom for Mental Wellness

Knowledge is power and, in many cases, it makes financial sense. When it comes to finances, knowing ways to protect and strengthen mental health can be powerful.

  1. Managing your money and spending within your means can help you feel more organized and less overwhelmed.
  2. Creating a monthly budget can help you maintain a sense of control and offer you a path to lowering stress.
  3. Research has shown that those who prioritize money over time may have lower levels of life satisfaction. 
  4. The same research suggests asking yourself two questions about spending: 1) Is what I’m buying essential to survival? 2) Is the expense contributing to my happiness?
  5. Some studies have shown that people tend to feel happier if they make more money, but usually only up until a point. (Earning $75,000 or $85,000 a year are commonly mentioned as the amount of income at which life satisfaction tends to level off.) Other studies show that there is a connection between higher levels of earning and well-being. This could be the case for several reasons, such as the autonomy that can come from financial stability or the feelings of accomplishment that may come from a fulfilling, lucrative career or thoughtful investments, for example.
  6. Social relationships and connections typically contribute more to happiness than money does.
  7. Doing and experiencing can make us happier than having things and money. Buying a physical item may make us feel happy in the short term, but experiences can lead to personal growth, interactions, and lasting positive memories.
  8. Finances and mental health can have a cyclical relationship. Financial distress can increase symptoms of depression and anxiety, for example. In turn, living with a mental health condition can affect finances. For instance, anxiety and depression can make it difficult to find energy and motivation to earn money, which can then further impact personal finances and then increase feelings of depression and anxiety. 
  9. Spending money on others can boost happiness. Donating money to a charity or giving gifts to others can be a win-win. Not only does it help the recipient, but it can help us feel good, too.
  10. Regardless of income status, when people tie their self-worth or self-esteem to finances, they tend to experience more stress and anxiety, focus more on social comparisons, and feel less autonomy, all of which are negative feelings that can affect mental health.

Addressing mental health issues can be crucial for getting finances in order and, most importantly, for living a healthy, full life. Similarly, managing finances in a healthy, smart way can support mental health. Financial planning help and budgeting tools are widely available, as are help and effective treatment from licensed mental health professionals.

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