Taking care of yourself, including both health and finances, is a sure-fire way to cultivate various positive aspects of your life. Financial health is a critical element within self-care. A positive stance for financial wellness can expand your abilities, contributions, and impact you have on others.
There are a fair amount of psycho- and sociological factors and, often, stigmas around making financial decisions that can be rather entangled. Regardless, mental, physical, and financial health are inextricably linked. Therefore, it’s worth placing focus on this area as part of a proactive approach to leading an overall healthful life.
Financial worry can set off a cascade of challenges.
In many people, it can lead to chronic stress which, furthermore, can impair sleep, lead to greater levels of anxiety or states of depression, may influence self-esteem, and could trigger less healthful behaviors. Furthermore, psychological distress and negative emotions may indirectly contribute to increased inflammation in the body, higher blood pressure, and the onset of other chronic health conditions.
Financial stress could even inhibit seeking out appropriate care in the first place. According to the American Psychological Association, the cost of health care is a leading concern and cause for stress (2019).
Essentially, financial stress can be disruptive in nature. However, there are facets that can help the mental-emotional relationship to finances. Like any other aspect of life and goal-setting, expectations should be realistic. It may also be beneficial to take self-inventory for how you make decisions.
One review of five studies suggested that “affective decision-makers” may be more likely to avoid making decisions related to financial matters. This was due, in part, to the perception that decisions related to finances are very analytical in nature. Affective thinking has lent towards having a distinct sense of feeling or emotion present when making decisions. Affective decision-makers may have considered financial decisions “cold” in nature and, therefore, less relatable. Furthermore, the complexities of financial products and instruments could have been intimidating (Park and Sela, 2017).
It is not to assume that affective thinking is inefficient and absolutely leads to a less proactive approach to finances, but it could be important to understand where you fall on the spectrum in case this is a mediating factor.
Ignoring your finances can create more money problems and increase the resulting stress. Acknowledging and accepting any negative feelings you may have about dealing with your money is a critical step.
Other areas that studies have shown to be influential include the following:
- one’s social environment and/or level of emotional support
- relationships and social standings within communities
- previous experiences with financial stressors
According to Gallup-Sharecare, five essential elements of well-being include:
- sense of purpose, including within a career path
- social relationships
- financial security
- relationship to community
- physical health
Furthermore, they have defined “financial” as managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
Like with any big challenge, breaking out small, actionable steps and a clear timeline can be beneficial. Working with appropriate professionals, including both those with financial expertise and emotional health resources (or therapeutic options), can help to refine your perspective and address any blocks in the mindset.
As experts will point out, this area is complex and laced with emotional drivers. There is also a difference between knowing what to do and understanding how to do it.
Not all support options have to cost an arm and a leg.
Many cities and towns have finance-related programs through their city/public affairs divisions or library systems. Meanwhile, a hack to mental health is seeing a psychologist in training who will be under supervision but have more nominal fees.
Although exact financial circumstances will vary from person to person. Taking steps to ensure financial behaviors are healthful can help to reduce mental fog from financial stress and, therefore, lead to a greater level of productivity. It can help you move forward and feel more positive about what’s to come in life.
Ashley L Arnold, MBA, MPH is a lifestyle health educator and coach who supports clients to channel authority over their health, well-being, and overall vitality. Offering health education approaches and 1-on-1 coaching modules, she gets them out of excess weeds of information and inconsistent practices that don’t get desired results. Through helping people focus on the right applications paired with appropriate consideration for bio-individual facets, they become stronger, more confident self-advocates for their health. Bottom line, they will surpass challenges, embrace healthful living with ease, and, best of all, feel a greater sense of empowerment and more energy!
In need of formalized support to make healthful lifestyle changes? Contact me through my business site.
American Psychological Association (Nov, 2019). Stress in America 2019. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2019/stress-america-2019.pdf.
American Psychological Association (2015, Feb 4). Stress in America, Paying with our Health. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2014/stress-report.pdf.
Connolly, M. and Slade, M. (2019, May 7). The United States of Stress 2019, Special Report. Everyday Health. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/wellness/united-states-of-stress/.
Gallup-Sharecare Well-being Index (2017). State of American Well-being, 2017 State Well-being Rankings. Retrieved from https://wellbeingindex.sharecare.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Gallup-Sharecare-State-of-American-Well-Being_2017-State-Rankings_FINAL.pdf.
Park, J.J. and Sela, A. (2018, Aug). Not My Type: Why Affective Decision Makers Are Reluctant to Make Financial Decisions. Journal of Consumer Research, 45(2), 298-319.
Sturgeon, J.A., et al. (2016). The Psychosocial Context of Financial Stress: Implications for Inflammation and Psychological Health. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78(2), 134-143.