Financial and Mental Well Being


I originally wrote this as a guest post for another blog, in the heat of Covid. Well, it didn't pan out, so here it is.

When it comes to health, everything is connected. Your mental health impacts your physical health, your physical health impacts your emotional health, and all of them impact each other. Any disruption can have implications on any of the others. Furthermore, I think various aspects of our lives can have a great impact on our health. Take your financial health for example. If you are always worried about when you will be paid next, you might not have time to consider the deeper mysteries of life. I like to think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; at the bottom is our physical well being: food, shelter, safety. In our capitalist society, I think money essentially is the solution to all of these. With money, you can buy food, a home in a good neighborhood, and safety and security measures. After meeting these more basic needs, we can focus on love, finding greater purpose, and achieving self-actualization. But the first step in all that is financial in nature. You can’t really be a subsistence farmer or hunter in this day and age. Money is a must.

In these uncertain times, this is more evident than ever. People who have means to avoid going to the store can pay for Instacart. Those who have a means of avoiding going into work will work from home, or not at all.  But people who depend on a paycheck might not have the luxury. If you need the money, you are forced to do what you have to do to survive. You may know there is increased risk, but you just have to put those thoughts to the back of your mind, keep your head low, and keep working.

All of this pressure certainly causes stress. The uncertainty of not knowing where your next meal will come from, feelings of loss of control, and not knowing when things will return to normal all may contribute to stress.  You don’t need to be a doctor to know that stress can be unhealthy for you. Some stress can be good though; this is called eustress, and can be beneficial to us. Creating a business, applying for a job, or giving a speech can be stressful experiences, but are also good and positive experiences. Growth can be stressful. It is a different kind of stress.

Negative stress, or distress, is the opposite. It hurts our performance, demotivates us, and is associated with negative health outcomes. At, the following are given as examples of stressors that can cause distress: ”Bankruptcy/Money Problems and Unemployment.” Getting your finances in check will decrease causes of negative stress in your life. 

I don’t know what you are going through, and it may be hard right now. But I say you can break away from this system. Prepare for the future. It will take a little time, but there is no better time to start than now. I would start with an emergency fund. Have enough money saved up for a few days' expenses at first, build up to a few weeks, and eventually a few months. Next, pay down your debt. Your job can cut you off, but your car and house payment will still be due (or maybe postponed, but still that payment date is coming). It may also be a good idea to find other streams of income besides the main income stream from your job. 

Our health is all very interconnected, and I think our finances play a role in our overall well-being. You cannot deny the importance of money in our society. I believe financially preparing for the future and being secure money-wise can free you to enjoy life more fully. Making the right money choices is just one step in the whole picture of our wellbeing. 


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