How To Stop Letting Your Finances Impact Your Mental Health – Forbes
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Have you ever felt depressed or anxious due to your financial circumstances? If you answered “yes”, you are not alone. In fact, a recent MetLife study found that 40 percent of U.S. employees say that having debt or getting into debt is a top driver of their poor mental health. That’s a lot of people being emotionally impacted by debt.
To learn more about this topic, and what you can do to improve your mental health, I chatted with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, a biracial (Filipina-white) female social worker-turned-financial therapist, author, speaker, and the first financial therapist in Michigan. Bryan-Podvin’s mission is to help people build a better relationship with money by applying shame-free therapy techniques to personal finance.
How Does Money Actually Relate To Or Impact Mental Health?
On its face, money can seem like it’s just numbers – like it’s just about how much is coming in and how much is going out. Many people don’t see how it can related to mental health or emotions at all. However, the fact is, money has a huge impact on emotional well-being. According to Bryan-Podvin, “there are many reasons why individuals choose to work with a financial therapist, but mental health is ultimately at the root of each. Money and emotions are highly interconnected. In fact, behavioral finance experts agree emotions drive financial decisions between 80–90% of the time.”
MetLife’s 2022 Employee Benefits Trends Survey found financial concerns were the top cause of lower mental health among employees. It also found that employees who say they live paycheck to paycheck are significantly more likely to say they have needed to seek help for stress, burnout, and depression in the past 12 months versus those who don’t, which further supports the strong connection that exists between money and mental health.
Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Relationship With Money
So are you doomed to have mental health issues due to financial stress? Not necessarily. When asked how people can improve their emotional relationship with money, Bryan-Podvin suggested a three step approach:
- Understand Your Relationship with Money: Start by looking back at how money was discussed (or not) while you were growing up. Our experiences with money or the lack thereof can impact how we think about money for the rest of our lives.
- Leverage Financial Wellness Resources: Look around for podcasts, blogs, books, and apps that might guide you towards financial wellness. Bryan-Podvin recommends starting with an app called Upwise.
- Cut Small Costs to Support Big Financial Goals: Think about the little things you can do now in the present moment that will improve your financial situation.