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There is a very high association between financial security and mental health. Do you want to know how? Read this article to get your answer.

How your poor finances can affect your mental health

Are you suffering from anxiety, avoidance, depression, paranoia, lack of sleep, hopelessness, low self-esteem and confidence? If your answer to one of these is yes, then you are suffering from poor mental health as all of these are symptoms of bad mental health as well as poor financial health.

But you don't need to worry as you are not alone. According to a survey conducted by Ipsos back in 2018, about 50% of Canadians are suffering from bad mental health, while according to WHO, more than 5% of people in the world are suffering from bad mental and financial health. Even before the global coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in economic fallout, an American Psychological Association (APA) study found that 72% of Americans feel stressed about money. Thus the recent economic difficulties mean that even more people are now facing financial struggles and hardship.

There is also a silver lining to this because the current scenario is changing as more and more people are talking about mental health awareness, the importance of mental health, money and financial health, and even the government is taking some serious steps to address these issues. But still, many people have that fear to confront and accept that they are suffering from some serious financial and mental health issues.

In this article, we will cover some of the most important aspects which you need to understand, like “What is mental health?”, “How do you feel when you think of money or bad finances”, “Effects of bad mental health”, and “Ways to nurture your mental health”.

1. What is mental health?

Mental health is a combination of social, emotional and psychological well being, and it directly affects how we act, think and behave.

It is also deeply connected with your financial health because if your financial health is in a good position, then your mental health will also be in a good state and vice versa.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but mental health is much more than the absence of mental disorder or disability."

There are many factors that contribute to mental health issues, but most of them can be dragged down into these three categories:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

There are also some early-stage signs which may point toward your poor mental health like:

  • Increase in your anger level
  • Increase in the level of consumption of alcohol, drugs or smoking 
  • Feeling unhealthy or tired most of the time
  • Being negative in most of the situations
  • Getting violent in small situations
  • Being incapable of taking even small decisions correctly 
  • Losing strength and stamina very easily
  • Thinking about taking steps like suicide or harming yourself

When you think about money, how does it make you feel? 

Your financial health reflects how comfortable you are thinking or even talking about money. If you are passing through a poor financial phase, then it is more likely that you would like to avoid talking about money, finances, debt, etc. 

But if talking about money makes you feel happy, empowered, joyful, proud, anxiety-free and confident, then you are managing your finances and debts in a good manner, which means that you would love to have conversations about money and finances.

It is also very easy to feel guilt, shame and envy whenever you think about your bad financial decisions. Still, it is essential to open up because whatever the situation may be, but not talking or speaking about it won't solve the problem but rather may surely increase it.

Along with that, it is also important to understand the link between mental health and finances as I am sure that you have heard this famous quote, "Money can't buy you happiness". 

But it is just a half-truth because Dr Roger McIntyre, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, states, "From the point of view of mental health disorders, one of the most replicated observations is the very high association between financial security and mental health". In other terms, you can say that money can sometimes buy you happiness.

Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, said, "The psychology behind our relationship with money is very underrated".

4 things that could happen when you’re in a negative or poor mental state

The most common consequences due to bad mental health are:

A. Avoidance

Avoiding work, social or other activities just because of the fear of rejection and criticism will be the scariest part to strike as you will lose that potential and belief to make the right decisions, talk to others or even try to do something new. 

According to experts, about 1% of the general population has issues of avoidance personality disorder. Due to this avoidance personality disorder, you will have a shallow threshold of criticism and eventually, you may move to extreme social inhibition.

B. Desperation

One of the significant factors behind desperation is depression when you are passing through poor mental health. It is very important to understand the fact that depression makes you feel desperate by cutting you off from any kind of help. Although the help may be right in front of you: Family members, friends, therapist, etc. but it won’t let you pick them and make you feel alone.

C. Self-esteem and confidence may take a hit

It is very easy to lose faith for upliftment and strength to fight back against the odds when things are not working as per your plans. Self-belief and confidence are at their all-time low, and you feel worthless. Also, there is a regret which continuously makes you feel horrible about your poor state and bad financial plans.

D. Physical pain and sickness

It is a very well known fact that poor mental health increases the chances of developing severe physical health issues. 

Our body follows a "fight or flight" response against danger. So the body either gets ready to fight the danger or run away from it (flight).

Being sick regularly, having physical pain and stomach ache, feeling energy drained, etc., are a few of the many consequences your body will go through due to this "fight or flight" response.

Ways to nurture your mental health and financial health

There are various ways through which you can improve your mental and financial health; among them, some of the most prominent are:

Also read: COVID-19 And Mental Health: Is It Covered Under Health Insurance

A. Meditate:

Taking out at least 15 minutes from your daily routine and spending it on meditation or doing yoga will be the best option that will help you in your tough times and make you a mentally wealthy person from a mentally poor person.

You can also use some kind of spiritual music during meditation, as it will add rhythm and motivation to your meditation.

Also, this activity will ensure that you will have good willpower and mental strength to make wise decisions throughout the day.

B. Show gratitude:

It is very easy to focus on the negative aspects of each and everything happening in your life when you are going through a debt crisis, bad mental health and financial uncertainty. Still, you should try to see the positive side of your life. You can show thankfulness and gratitude to those who are helping you out or maybe to that beautiful sunset and your lovely partner for always giving you that strength and positivity.

C. Exercise daily:

Take part in some kind of physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day as it will not only increase your physical strength but will also help you improve your mental health. In addition to that, this will also improve your self-esteem and reduce stress. 

D. Get more sleep:

Improving sleep patterns and increasing sleep time will directly affect your next day's work as these small things will ensure that you are energetic, healthy, and fresh as you wake up in the morning.

In most cases, it is found that taking improper sleep or not following proper sleep patterns leads to tiredness and boredom, leading to poor decisions and eventually leading to more poor mental and financial health.

Thus overall, 7-8 hours of good sleep at night will help you improve your daily routine and boost your decision-making power during the entire day.

E. Catch up with friends and family:

Sharing about your poor mental and financial health with your family or friends can be one of the best ways to get a ray of hope and a path to a possible solution for the same. It is always hard to take help and talk about it with your friends or family when you are someone who is self-reliant, but the earlier you do, the better your situation will be.

If you are married and have kids who are young enough to understand finances, then you can also include them.

Initially, if you are feeling shy talking about it with your friends and family, then you can spend some quality time and try to socialize as much as you can and after some time, start initiating the topic slowly and gradually.

F. Eat well:

Eating good, healthy, protein and vitamin-rich food will also help you improve your mental and physical strength. Most people skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner when going through some financial stress and mental trauma, but it is the worst decision.

You can also follow a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables, as they will directly improve your immune system and help you make the right decisions. 

This way, you will also end up saving your spending on unhealthy and unhygienic food which you used to order from outside.

G. Take a break:

Taking out time for yourself, family and friends is also the best decision you can make as it will help you heal faster from your scares of the financial crisis and mental disorder.

Along with that, when you take a break, it will give your mind some rest from thinking just the negative aspects of your life. And as you will surround yourself with the people you love and care for the most, you will enjoy the time, and it will refill you with strength and motivation to fight back the negativity.

Also Read: Financial Decisions I Took To Protect My Health