money is not the enemy

Wealth Is Health: Why Money Is Not the Enemy

Many health writers create a stark divide between wealth and mental well-being. The adage “money can’t buy happiness” is mostly true — you can’t physically buy the concept of happiness or love as they are mindsets you cultivate. However, money is not an enemy to finding inner peace.

Having money is not always about buying lavish, luxury goods or spending impulsively. Indeed, some people do spend this way as they practice consumerism or materialism.

On the other hand, financial security is a support system where you can explore your interests, relationships and inner self without debilitating worry and stress. Being mindful of your habits with money can increase mental well-being far into the future.

Financial Stability Reduces Stress

Over 73% of Americans find money a major stressor in their lives. In fact, due to skyrocketing inflation and a disrupted job market, the past few years found Americans struggling to afford the basic necessities of food and gas. Clearly, money is an issue for many people.

Financial insecurity is also a social stressor, as society pushes a level of shame onto finances. There is a wave of factors that can put someone into debt or struggling for money that is not their fault, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This level of shame leads people to skip out on social gatherings or events with friends because they feel insecure about their situation.

Financial insecurity or relying on governmental programs like EBT is nothing to be ashamed of, first and foremost. However, if you are in a situation where you can practice more mindful and healthy practices with money, it can lead to a more satisfied sense of self.

Money gives you more control over events in your life and opens up possibilities to respond. Everyone — no matter the tax bracket — faces daily stressors and unfortunate circumstances, but strong finances allow you to meet these challenges with less anxiety or fear. This way, unexpected health bills or car repairs are still worrisome but not debilitating or debt-inducing.

Supports Healthy Living

Investing in your physical health is also a stop on the path to peace of mind. Health insurance is costly in the U.S. but helps you to avoid large medical debts in the future. Accidents and injuries happen and it can take a weight off your mind to know your coverage is managing those unexpected costs. It’s also encouraging to know there will always be a medical provider on your plan for routines and emergencies.

Those with financial insecurity can also better avoid mental health problems like depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Struggling to make bills on time, poor credit scores and outstanding debts are all valid stressors that may cause long-term anxiety or depression.

Money encourages you to explore diverse ways to move, too. Interested in that cool new hot yoga studio downtown? Have you got your eye on some home equipment like an exercise bike? Even a gym membership requires a monthly fee. With stable finances, you can move and groove your body to a better physical and mentally fulfilled state.

Ensures a Stable Home Life

Money also provides you with housing security and the ability to choose where you want to live. Owning or renting a space is one important task, but finding a safe and healthy community also nourishes your well-being. Short commutes allow a slower-paced morning, while well-manicured and walkable communities offer opportunities to build relationships with neighbors and explore your area safely.

Stable housing situations are also mentally grounding. The fear of having to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice can be debilitating for many families. Moving is a natural part of life, but financial security will provide various options and opportunities to move to better neighborhoods or homes.

Homes can also face damage or need renovations. With a maintained reserve of funds, you can fix that leak and paint the walls your favorite shade of green. The freedom to create and live safely is a luxury financial stability offers.

Funds a Happy Family

If you’re a parent or part of a family, you probably know raising a child requires a lot of money. A middle-income married family with two children spends around $284,594 to raise a child. That number increased by $26,011 in 2022.

Babies need diapers, clothes, formula, doctor visits, enrichment events or toys, babysitters, day-cares and so many other expenses. As they get older, kids will also need transportation, education and health care.

Perhaps the most important expense is housing. When a family grows, they might need more bedrooms or a bigger backyard for the children to play. The family might want to relocate to a better-funded school or one with unique programs to enhance learning. Financial stability gives parents the confidence that they can meet their children’s needs and provide them with the best life possible.

Without that security, kids may feel the strain’s blowback. Children report feeling stressed, anxious and guilty when their parents are struggling financially. They may take these worries into adulthood as well. Instilling healthy financial habits at a young age shows kids money is not something to fear, but something that needs management and care, just like any other task in life.

Start Practicing Money Mindfulness

While an anti-money and anti-attachment mindset is fulfilling for many health enthusiasts, you must also acknowledge the reality of money’s importance in society. With financial stability, you strengthen support systems in your health, home and family.

Furthermore, money and mindfulness are not warring enemies. Money mindfulness is a concept that encourages people to be aware of their financial emotions and actions. Often, people will mindlessly spend because they are too stressed to check their balances. Only looking at financial statements when you receive an alert reinforces a feeling of financial stress.

For your first steps into money mindfulness, you can practice these techniques:

  • Think about the emotions that arise when you check your statements.
  • Make frequent balance checks and take the time to review when finances are going well.
  • Use budgeting apps to track spending.
  • Envision your financial future.
  • Try a No Spend Day once a week to curb mindless spending.

Financial mindfulness is a practice to work towards, so be patient with yourself and your journey.

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

Money isn’t the only key to happiness, but having financial freedom and security does make it easier to go through life with reduced worry. By practicing financial health and mindfulness, you can better explore your well-being from a stable ground.

Photo credits: Scott Graham on Unsplash

This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.

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