Financial Wellness is Mental Wellness

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Recent surveys such as the World Happiness Report have shed new light on the devastating impact of the pandemic on mental health and mental well-being (defined in the report as, “the full breadth of a person’s emotional, social, and cognitive function and capability”).

Younger age groups have experienced the steepest declines in mental wellness during the pandemic – with nearly 50% reporting symptoms severe enough that they find it “challenging to function effectively in life.”Many of these challenges stem from school closures, early job losses, and the deep uncertainty about the future – each of which is expected by most experts to affect their level of mental well-being for years to come.

Amid this dismal outlook for young adults is a potential bright ray of hope – due to the growing awareness of the twin considerations of wellness and purpose when it comes to work. In the post-pandemic era, employees and self-employed will expect their jobs and careers to bring not merely a paycheck, but also a significant sense of purpose to their lives.

This has little to do with the Silicon Valley nonsense of foosball tables and free lunches (in exchange for 80-90-hour works weeks) – but rather with how we structure our work time, when and where we work, an emphasis on time versus dollars, and an ability to “do good” for others while we are “doing well” for ourselves.

As we enter the middle of 2021 and we can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel with parts of the country opening up, we are already seeing a culture that is craving authenticity around the “M-word” – MONEY. Right up there with religion, sex, and politics, MONEY has been one of those “taboo” topics that you never discussed in polite conversation.

As the number-one source of mental distress globally, it is about time that we have an open and honest discussion about money and mental wellness. The Global Wellness Institute has identified “Financial Wellness” as one oof their top mega-trends for 2021 because, “society is finally waking up to the link between money and mental health.”

We know from numerous global scientific surveys that financial stress affects physical health (blood pressure, respiratory symptoms, pain levels, and rates of tension and anxiety) – and mental health (because people with depression and anxiety are 3x more likely to be in debt). According to Bank of America, financial concerns negatively affect the mental wellness (59%) and physical health (56%) of respondents in a national survey.

Let’s be honest – all the yoga classes, personal training sessions, and green juices in the world won’t make mentally well or physically fit if you’re buried in financial anxiety. As such, we at Amare Global prefer to frame “money stress” not purely as a finance problem but more broadly as both a mental wellness and physical health problem – but one that also has an actionable SOLUTION.

In my upcoming book, Mental Fitness, I write about “Financial Fitness” – which is partly about how much money you have, but also how you make it (with purpose) and how you use it (wisely, so you have the resources to help yourself and help others).

Our relationship with money is more than just dollars and cents – it is heavily emotional and psychological – so “Financial Fitness” considers how money impacts more holistically in our entire life.

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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