By Contributor, Cleo Childress

Have you ever wondered why you make the money choices you make? The good choices. The bad choices. They all stem from the state of our mental health. 

What is mental health? 

Mental health consists of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It directly affects the way we think, feel, speak and act. It plays a huge role in how we deal with financial stress. Mental health should be evaluated and nurtured at every age and every stage of life. If you’ve ever experienced mental health issues, your thinking, feelings, speaking and behaviors towards your financial lifestyle could be affected.

How does mental health relate to your finances? Think about the money decisions you make everyday. 

Do you struggle with money management? Do you feel like you’re drowning in debt? Do you abuse credit cards? Do you gamble or play the lottery excessively? Do you shop too much? 

Are you constantly giving money to others knowing you really dont have it? Do you always pay your bills late? Do you avoid checking your bank accounts or credit reports? Are you hesitant to get help with your finances because of shame, guilt or fear? Do you celebrate your financial wins? 

When you think about money, how does it make you feel right now? Happy and excited? Or stressed and worried?

These are questions you should ask yourself and answer honestly. Every action we take is directly linked to our mental health. Our mind controls everything we do. When our mindset is in a healthy or happy state, the decisions we make will lead us to positivity and prosperity. When our mental health is in a negative or poor state, we tend to make financial decisions that lead us to even more negative results and toxic behaviors.

Here are 4 things that could happen in your finances when you’re in a negative or poor mental state:

  1. Avoidance can lead to more problems that will require more strength and power to overcome. If you avoid paying off debt, resolving credit issues, saving or investing, you could cause more financial issues and delays that aren’t necessary. Facing your issues head on will push you closer to the financial lifestyle you truly desire. It may not be an easy process, but in the end it will be rewarding. 

  2. Desperation can cause you to do things you normally don’t do. Such as consistently overdrafting your bank account, selling things you really need, excessively overspending, borrowing money when you’re already neck deep in debt. Dig deep within your mind, body and soul to allow yourself to let go of those desperate emotions and make room for healthier emotions that are required to thrive financially. 

  3. Self Esteem and Confidence can drop significantly. When you’re not in a peaceful and happy place mentally and financially, you may not feel motivated or inspired enough to take action to change your life. You may feel there is no way out or that it will take decades to overcome your challenges. I encourage you to start as you are and where you are. Take it one day and one step at a time.

  4. Physical Pain and Sickness may come when you’re constantly dealing with negative and toxic feelings, emotions and experiences. If you’re having any pains in your hips, lower back, neck or always feeling sick, you might be stressed, exhausted and overwhelmed with your financial situation. The more you nurture your mental health the more your financial health will shift into a prosperous state. 

Finance isn’t just about knowledge and numbers, it’s about the way we think, feel, speak and react when it comes to money. This is where our mental health comes in.

Although nurturing your mental health on a daily basis is essential, now is the perfect time to get your life in order since May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The stronger your mindset, the more confidence, strength and power you will have to conquer your financial goals. 

Here are 12 ways to nurture your mental health and financial health:

  1. Show Gratitude: Think it, write it, and say it. Genuinely show gratitude for what and who you have in your life right now. 

  2. Meditate: Meditation helps make the brain stronger, work better and achieve more clarity.

  3. Get More Sleep: We sometimes think more work and less sleep is more productive, but we actually do ourselves a disservice by depriving our mind and body of sleep. Sleep gives us the fuel we need to be more productive personally and professionally. 

  4. Exercise Daily: The way you challenge your mind and body during a workout can translate to the way you push through challenges on your financial journey. There are free workout videos on YouTube and Instagram that you can use to workout at home. Get it done, even if it’s only 15 minutes.

  5. Catch Up With Friends and Family: We need those connections from loved ones to enjoy meaningful conversations and reminisce about the good times. Set aside time at least once a month to check-in with others. 

  6. Eat Well: Drink more water, smoothies, or add more fruits and vegetables to your meals. The healthier the foods the stronger the mind and body will become. 

  7. Schedule a Money Meeting: Meet with yourself or everyone in your household at least once every week, biweekly or monthly. Understand when it’s time to increase income, decrease expenses or both. This meeting is for budgeting, making adjustments, and checking-in on your progress.

  8. Help Someone: Being generous is essential. We all need help at different levels of our lives. You could give your time, money or material things. Individually we are great, but as a community we are powerful. 

  9. Create Playlists: Music is our medicine. Create a few playlists to empower you for different types of moods you may experience. Make sure to include a money playlist to hype yourself up during your financial journey. 

  10. Educate Yourself: Watch videos, read books and articles, attend webinars and follow influential people on social media. Doing your own research is necessary as we are all lifelong students. The world is our classroom. 

  11. Hire a Professional: Doing it on your own is great, but there comes a time when you realize it’s best to hire a professional to help you get the job done. It could be a Financial Coach, Tax Specialist, Financial Therapist, Psychologist, Financial Advisor, or a Marriage Counselor. Get the help when you know you need it the most. 

  12. Take a Break: If you do nothing but work, you will go crazy. We need breaks to help our mind and body rejuvenate. Watch a movie, play games, go for a hike, bike ride, sit by the lake, go for a swim, or go to brunch. We also need breaks from social media and TV. Even if it’s for an hour, take breaks as needed. 

For more information on mental health, explore resources at MentalHealth.gov www.mentalhealth.gov and The National Institute of Mental Health www.nimh.nih.gov.

Featured image via Shutterstock.com

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Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.