There’s a strong correlation between physical, mental, and financial health. In fact, research shows that people with debt are 3 times more likely to have mental health problems. And multiple studies reveal that financial stress can actually cause pain—including chronic lower back and neck pain—predict usage of over-the-counter pain medications, and trigger visits to the doctor.
Put simply, poor financial health hurts.
The good news is that taking even simple steps to manage your finances can contribute to your wellbeing. Today, we’re offering five ways to help you manage all three and feel better.
- Engage in mindful spending
Most people have a difficult time cutting back on their discretionary spending. But it helps to be mindful of which purchases bring you the most joy, so you can start to eliminate others. You’ll be surprised how many ways you find to cut spending without actually changing your lifestyle. Stemming the flow of monthly expenses will not only feel good—but will also help you address debt and other financial stressors.
- Use debt wisely
It feels good to get approved for a shiny rewards cards—or any card, for that matter. But the truth is that many cards start off with a great rate or a lot of incentives that promptly plummet at the end of the first year, saddling you with interest, and extra fees. Don’t get us wrong, debt Is a great tool that can be useful for many life milestones—a mortgage puts you in a home, for example, and having a good payment history on a credit card over time can help build your credit score. In general, though, your grandparents’ advice still holds true: don’t spend what you don’t have. Only accumulating debt that you are able to pay back will relieve the pressure from creditors and help you avoid unnecessary stress.
- Save for emergencies
Unexpected circumstances happen—so regularly, in fact, that all of us should be planning for them. Put a little something away each month to cover accidents, flat tires, illnesses, prescriptions, or anything else that pops up. It may seem difficult at first but building emergency savings into your budget will be worth it in the long run. Once you have a steady source of income, you should start planning how you can start an emergency savings fund.
- Invest in health and happiness
While unnecessary expenses should be avoided, do yourself a favor by investing in something that makes you happier and healthier. It might be a yoga class, therapy, or an app that tracks fitness. Whatever it is, make sure it contributes to your mental and physical wellbeing in a way that makes it worth the financial cost. And remember that many happiness-inducing activities cost nothing at all, like a daily jog around your neighborhood, a game night with friends, or a Sunday hike.
- Take a multi-pronged approach
Your overall wellbeing is holistic, and not dependent on any single factor. For that reason, don’t be tempted to focus solely on financial problems or physical or mental health—or to feel like you have to solve one issue before taking care of the others. As we mentioned earlier, there’s a strong correlation between all of these elements, and making small changes on multiple issues can compound the impact you have on all of them.
Whatever your physical, mental, or financial health issues might be, there are solutions. By working towards your best self while also setting aside a small cushion to cover for the worst, you can reduce stress, address symptoms, and improve your total quality of life.