There is no doubt that there is a connection between money and mental health. Although money can not buy happiness, we can not deny that money is important to our overall wellbeing and the absence of money can be severely detrimental to both our physical and mental health. The Mental Health and Income Commission, which was set up to look at the links between our mental health and our finances, found that those with common mental health conditions like anxiety or depression have annual incomes just two-thirds that of people without those conditions.
However, not only can the absence of money be of detriment to our wellbeing, money management can also have an affect. In order for us to understand the thoughts and behaviours of the UK public, we conducted our own research and found that in a sample of 300 people, respondents reported that they are anxious about their finances 56% of the time. It is therefore extremely important that we work on the notion of financial wellbeing - feeling in control of your day-to-day finances and having the financial freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life.
One way to try to grab control of your finances and enhance your financial wellbeing, is to tap into the other aspects that contribute to it: your mental wellbeing. At Maslife, our notion is that the more you look after your mental and physical health, the more your financial health will be improved. In our survey, 92.67% of respondents believed that there is a link between wellbeing and finances yet the same sample of people only rank themselves as living a healthy lifestyle 52% of the time.
Healthy living is at the core of Maslife, so let's make a change and improve together!
Three ways to improve your mental and physical wellbeing to impact on your financial wellbeing:
Take a Walk in Nature
Scientists have discovered that being in the open air calms down our prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is the command centre, and with less strain on this, we create a healing effect within ourselves. You'll also increase your 'feel good' hormones. When you are walking in nature, endorphins are released as you activate your physical wellbeing, giving you a natural high. Endorphins can also help reduce pain and increase feelings of wellness. You'll be encouraged to breathe. We live in such a fast-paced, stressful world which causes our breathing to become shallow and less intentional. A walk in nature will encourage deep and rhythmical breathing, stimulating the body's parasympathetic system, helping to induce a feeling of calm.
The practice of meditation has been around since the dawn of time. The oldest documented evidence of the practice can be seen on wall art in India, dating from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE. It was originally meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life, however, these days meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction.
According to the Oxford English dictionary, meditation is to: Focus one's mind for a period of time or to think deeply about something.
As researcher Madhav Goyal found in his study of the Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Wellbeing (2014), meditation is an active form of brain training. “A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing,” says Goyal. “But that’s not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.”
Meditation isn’t a magic bullet for depression and anxiety, as no treatment is, but it’s one of the tools that may help manage symptoms.
Set a Spending Budget
Budgeting can help you gain a feeling of control over your money. It allows you to prioritise your spending, track how you are doing and realise when you may need to stop. It puts a solid plan into place that is simple to follow giving you the chance to prepare for the future and reach your goals. A budget planner is an important tool in monitoring your financial future and gives you the power to make changes starting today.
Checking on your budget each day can help you maintain control, being notified if you are reaching your budget can help you to re-think you decisions and implement new habits.
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, get back in control by making small meaningful steps to positively affect your wellbeing. Feeling low can make it tough to manage money, and worrying about it can make you feel even worse. Small changes to your mental and physical health, whether it be taking walk or starting your day with a meditation, can lead to big changes to your financial wellbeing.
“Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.” - Zig Ziglar