Money is powerful.
It can be used for a lot of good. It allows us to accumulate things, it can give you a feeling of security, and it can also be used to help others.
On the other side of the coin though, money can be stressful for a lot of people. It can cause arguments, create shame and even guilt. And it can also be used as a coping mechanism to “escape” or ease stress.
A lot of people can easily identify and talk about the “good” ways money is used. You can find countless articles on it. But I think there’s tremendous opportunity to talk more about the other end of the spectrum on money and some of the negative implications it can create.
Today I’d like to shift gears, and talk about money a little differently. I’d like to talk about something very few people cover, although it’s extremely important. I want to discuss money stress and how it may relate to your mental wellness.
I interpret it as being in the right mind-set as you spend, save, make and invest your money. It’s critical.
Identifying your mind-set and how it relates to money can heavily impact how you use money and can help identify some challenges that you may have with it.
Money should not cause you stress. But equally important, money should not be used as a coping mechanism for stress. Both these things roll up into the idea of money and mental wellness.
Now I’m not saying that you need to be concerned about mental wellness if you overspend or you are struggling with your finances. That is not the point of this post.
I’m not here to judge nor am I qualified to assess your mental wellness. I want to get you thinking broader about some of your behaviors about your finances. All to put you further ahead financially.
Let’s dive in!
How are money and mental wellness connected?
Mental wellness and your money are more closely related than you think!
Some of the below scenarios are really good examples! And you might be surprised; some might not be as bad as they seem!
More negative ones
- You bought something you didn’t need when you were upset to lift your mood
- You were so stressed out that you felt the need to go on vacation on credit
- You just had to buy that luxury car to keep up appearances
- Or dare I say you lied to a spouse about a purchase
More positive ones
- You stockpile items and money to build self-worth
- You love money more than any other thing (closely related to the one above)
- You pursue saving lots of money to feel “safer”
In the list above, often you’ll find money itself is not the problem. There’s some underlying piece driving it.
Some people cope with stress by eating or working out, while other people spend money.
Some people are dealing with insecurities and try to keep up appearances.
The important thing I’d like to drive home with this post is to be AWARE of how and why you’re using your money.
Money, as with other things in life, requires balance. Too much of one thing for the wrong reasons is not good. Below are a couple of examples I’ve seen first-hand where money and mental wellness intersect…
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This is when you don’t want to look at your bank account, credit card statement or any other bills. By avoiding these things, the guilt, anxiety, stress, and shame are reduced momentarily.
But we all know that avoiding your financial issues does not make them go away.
It’s like a beach ball that you keep pushing under water… eventually, it’s going to pop up and probably with more force than you thought!
I know easier said than done, but you need to address it head-on.
What’s holding you back? What could make it more comfortable? Is there support can get from someone close to help keep you accountable? Answering all these things will help!
Adoring money is when you place so much importance on it that you lose perspective of other things in your life.
Many people are workaholics and love making extra money even when there is no need.
Again, what’s the underlying cause here? Is it trying to replace something else?
Another example of this is going to the casino or playing the lottery with the expectation that you are going to win big. If you enjoy gambling as a hobby and know your limit, then I’m not suggesting you stop gambling. But if you’re expecting to get rich through these methods, then maybe there is something else going on.
Related post: Want to feel wealthy? Give your money away
Money and Appearances
When it comes to your spending, do you hide it from your family? Spouse? Friends?
Do you pretend that you have it all together when you go out? Or do you tell “white lies” about the price when asked by your spouse?
If you find yourself living a lie or a double life when it comes to your finances, it’s time to be transparent. Any relationship thrives on honesty and trust.
Related post: 7 biggest financial mistakes of the middle class
Money and Power
As you attain more and more wealth, do you use it to your advantage to sway others? Have you used money to get your way? Do you like mentioning your income in an attempt to brag to others?
There’s nothing wrong with trying to attain more money, power or status, but there’s a fine line to it!
It shouldn’t come at the cost of someone else or used as a manipulation tool. It also shouldn’t be used to find your self-worth or confidence.
Related post: Why a high income doesn’t guarantee financial freedom
The key to financial success, independence, and wellness, is realizing what some of your triggers and underlying motives are. Again, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing more money and wealth. There’s equally no problem spending or borrowing money for nice things. It all comes down to the head and heart.
Why are you doing it?
There is no judgment for someone who wants to be better, both financially and mentally. Be honest with yourself and others. You’d be surprised at how many people will step up to get you back on track.
Think it through
- Are there any areas you need to look deeper at to improve your finances?
- What steps can you take to create a stronger financial plan?
- How confident are you with money? What’s preventing you from asking for more help?
- Want to feel wealthy? Give your money away
- 7 biggest financial mistakes of the middle class
- Why a high income doesn’t guarantee financial freedom
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