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  • Writer's pictureTerry Banks

Mind and Money: Nurturing the Connection Between Financial and Mental Health

Every year the beginning of May greets us with the celebration of International Workers’ Day. This is meant to be a day of appreciation for the majority of people, the workers. Employees are the backbone and fabric of corporate and regular society. Their health, both physically and mentally, impacts the rest of us.

May also brings us Mental Health Awareness Month and encourages us to dive into a topic that’s not always so easy to discuss. We all know it’s important yet many of us have been conditioned to feel uncomfortable touching on the subject. Fortunately, our culture is shifting to replace stigma with open conversation.

Similarly, money is a topic that most people are uncomfortable discussing. Money influences many aspects of our daily lives, from meeting our basic human needs to pursuing our dreams and aspirations. We can help destigmatize conversations around both financial and mental health as we acknowledge the profound impact that they have on each other and the quality of our lives.

Check out this article from an interview that I did about how an Emergency Fund can impact mental health.

The link between money and our mental state can show up in a variety of ways. Debt and lack of financial resources can cause increased levels of anxiety, depression, and overall psychological unrest. On the other hand, mental issues can be really taxing which can hinder us from making sound financial decisions. It's crucial for us to understand the relationship between money and mental health and be able to participate in healthy conversations.

Recognizing the interconnectedness of the two helps us to be intentional as we tackle issues and develop strategies to promote both HEALTH and WEALTH.

  • Has your money ever affected your mental health (or vice versa)?

  • Do you have toxic money habits to unlearn?

  • What patterns do you believe are harming your finances?

In today's consumer driven society, it's easy to become engrossed in the allure of material things, tempting us to link our self-worth to our finances. Impulsive spending, retail therapy, overreliance on credit cards, choosing to remain in debt, and prioritizing instant gratification may be due to a lack of self-love or a poor sense of self.

  • How often do you spend to distract from problems?

  • Are you able to separate your emotions from your spending?

Getting attached to the quick fix of material things can lead to a never-ending cycle of seeking external validation. This mindset can quickly become unhealthy and lead to dependence on spending money to feel satisfied.

  • Have you ever stopped to think about why you’re drawn to certain purchases or feel the need to keep up with others?

These behaviors can be rooted in childhood wounds more often than you think. Our upbringing and past experiences shape our money mindset and attitude, oftentimes unconsciously. By recognizing and addressing these patterns, the process of healing can finally take place. Find healthy ways to provide for your inner child what you might have lacked in childhood.

I played high school basketball but before I ever played JV or varsity I played in my neighborhood. Michael Jordan’s ascension to basketball royalty and his influence were a major part of the zeitgeist. My high school colors were the same as the Bulls so I had extra reason for wanting the magic shoes that also would fit into my wardrobe that was highly influenced by school spirit. We couldn’t afford Jordans so I didn’t get Jordans. Instead, I got some red, white and black high tops of a brand that I had NEVER seen before nor since. I HATED those shoes.

Will Smith Meme from the series Fresh Prince of Bel Air with the text Take it from me parents just don't understand

It was my daily hope that I would outgrow them before I ever had to wear them because there was no use trying to explain the problem.

Fast forward to 10 years later to my still poor young adult years and playing basketball wasn't as much of a priority for me. Multiple versions of Jordans were released but my focus remained on shelter and food. A few more years went by and I was in my mid 30’s with a PLAY Account. I realized that I could afford to buy a pair of Jordans but I didn’t even want them at that point. They no longer had the power to fill the void. My void had evolved.

Self-examination revealed that my reasons for wanting them in high school were all external and highly dated. That singular moment of reflection and mindfulness prevented me from spending thousands of dollars over the years on something that I didn’t even actually want.

A poster of different Air Jordans from Haus and Hues

If I didn’t take the chance to ponder my priorities, I might still be trying to fill the void of a high school athlete with every release.

Image via Haus and Hues

I’m sharing my experience as a cautionary tale. Based on what I learned about myself, I would have missed out on options for retirement savings that led to my option of early retirement.

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Pay yourself first advice can seem empty for someone at the beginning stages of getting in touch with themselves. Instead of spending thoughtlessly, practice mindfulness, be intentional, and invest in yourself. Find ways to grow into your better version of yourself. Small yet deliberate measures toward your goal will produce long-term results.

The first step to healing is getting to know your worth and loving yourself unconditionally, independent of your current net worth. Build and grow yourself as you grow your ability to withstand life’s financial surprises. It could be taking a stand and saving for a rainy day or taking the steps to prevent yourself from being shackled by the financial services industry. It could be you choosing not to stay in debt and instead, work on paying it off to help reduce anxiety. All of these and more are valid acts of self-love.

The journey to financial healing and mental clarity is not an instant fix. Think back on the time and experiences that it took to get where you are and make peace with the time it will take time to dismantle and rebuild. Trust the process. You’re worth it.

My 3-month program is a non-judgmental space where it's safe to address your fears as well as your dreams. Book your 30 minute call today.


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