By Steve Jacobs
When we think about taking care of ourselves, we tend to consider only our physical well-being. But what about your current state of mind? It impacts your day-to-day life much more than you realize.
Since we all want to lead our best lives, let’s discuss a few ways to take care of your mind and how you can potentially benefit from it, physically and financially.
If you find yourself nodding along to anything in this article and feel like you could use a hand with your mental health, there are places to go for help. More and more employers are offering employee assistance programs because of a general push toward wellness.
If you’re a member of the armed forces, a veteran or military or veteran caregiver, there are several organizations that can offer support, like Vets4Warriors, Fisher House, The Mission Continues, PsychArmor Institute, Semper Fi Fund, Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Sesame Street for Military Families.
Whether through your employer or one of these organizations, take advantage of these services that can help you with the stressors in your life.
Overall, the better your mental health, the better your physical health is likely to be. If you think about how you act when you’re feeling down, this makes perfect sense. You care less about what you eat, what you wear, about going out and being with friends, about your social networks.
But how can your mental health affect your finances? That’s a little harder to define. It’s clear that the inverse is true — that finances can affect your mental state.
There are a few ways your mental health can impact your finances, some obvious and some not.
“A bad mental state can lead to a lack of care: You might lose motivation and stop going to work, you might have job performance issues that can spiral out of control,” says CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner and USAA advice director Sean Scaturro.
But, he says, there is a positive side: “Taking good positive strides toward your self-esteem, toward your mental health, can help you perform better, learn how you communicate and how to get better at it, at actually talking to people. It might increase your mental state and job functions.”
There’s a strong connection between self-confidence and financial health: As you see gains or benefits from the efforts you’re putting to a task, you’re going to want to do more of it.
“When you have a mission, you work more effectively; when you know what you’re working toward, you have more productive work; when you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more passionate about it,” Scaturro says.
A great way to consistently build this self-assurance is by developing a support network. It might sound cliché, but talking with people helps, and not just when you’re in a crisis.
Opening up about how you feel and not bottling things up or trying to solve issues yourself can lead to a world of greater self-satisfaction. Active participation in a support network has time and time again been seen as a way to tackle the biggest challenges in our lives and move forward in a productive manner.
This is especially true if you're a member of the military community because of your service and sacrifice and the associated stressors that can weigh heavily on one’s mental state. Community programs and resources can positively impact your life and contribute to your overall health and well-being, and peer connections can be incredibly powerful.
The main takeaway is that everything is interconnected. Prevention and wellness techniques, like therapy – which may be provided by your employer’s assistance program or your support networks – lets you get ahead of the curve and keep your brain and body healthy.
Promoting this holistic well-being is, we can all agree, a good thing.
No matter your stressors, it always makes sense to track your finances. Check out these online tools from USAA to take steps towards improving your financial situation.
Post originally published in 2019 updated in 2022.