Mental, physical and financial wellness are three pillars of good health, and the relationship between one’s financial and mental health is a close one.
Despite the awareness that there is a lack of public knowledge (particularly in the mental health space) about personal financial management, and how financial stress can negatively affect mental health and overall well-being, there are few holistic options to address these issues.
For many Canadians, money worries are the greatest source of stress, more than work, personal health and relationships.
With ongoing conversations about rising food costs amid record inflation in Canada, many Canadians are dealing with depression and mental health issues due to their finances.
The 2022 Financial Stress Index from FP Canada reveals that 38% of Canadians say money is the biggest concern.
There are many sources of financial stress, including:
Financial stress affects working Canadians of all income levels and age groups.
Did you know?
If you are dealing with financial stress, you are:
Financial stress can also lead to more serious health problems, such as:
Where Should I Start?
We all have our own experience of money and economic factors, and these personal experiences drive our financial decisions, which significantly impact our lives and sense of well-being.
Some inquiry questions:
You can also seek a certified Financial Therapist — an interesting emerging field of psychotherapy. The Financial Therapy Association (FTA) is an organization comprised of professionals dedicated to the integration of cognitive, emotional, behavioural, relational, and financial aspects of well-being.
Usually we already know what we need to do, but we can’t get “out of our own way”. Personal financial choices are usually about 20% logic and 80% emotion. Finding clarity on what drives you can help align your actions with your goals.
The first step after a period of self-reflection and investigation is getting organized. Getting a copy of your credit report and score, having a record of who you owe and making a basic budget of your income and expenses will allow you to have a better idea of your financial situation.
Laying everything out on the table will be overwhelming, but it will also help put things into perspective.
Personal Finance Tip #1 - Read Books
If you need help with your finances but aren't sure where to start, seek financial wisdom in books written by experts.
There are many books out there on taking control of your finances, from how to get out of debt to how to build an investment portfolio. Books offer a great way to change your approach to managing money.
To boost your savings, you can buy used financial books online or borrow them for free at your local library. Consider audiobooks if you would rather listen than read or an app like Blinkist that summarizes books for you, and offers audio summaries as well.
Personal Finance Tip #2 - Start Budgeting
If you are struggling to handle your finances, then you likely need to create a budget—a plan for how to spend your money each month, based on how much you typically earn and spend. Budgeting is kind of like counting calories, practicing budgeting can help you learn what things are putting you over and ways you can save.
To start, write down your income and all your expenses, and then subtract the expenses from the income to determine discretionary spending. At the start of each month, set up a budget to determine how discretionary money gets spent. Track the spending over the month, and at the end of the month, determine whether or not you stuck to the budget. Starting this process can be messy, but over three months you will start to get a handle on things.
If you spent more than you made, you can fix your budget by cutting unnecessary expenses or earning more if possible. Implement the revised budget the next month to start living within your means.
Personal Finance Tip #3 - Reduce Monthly Expenses
While you may not be able to reduce certain fixed expenses, without drastically altering your lifestyle, you can reduce variable expenses, such as restaurants, clothing or entertainment.
Other Personal Finance Tips
5 Healing Financial Affirmations:
Understanding the Psychology of Money
7 Money Personality Types
5 Books That Will Transform The Way You Think About Money
The Seduction of Pessimism
“Optimism sounds like a sales pitch. Pessimism sounds like someone trying to help you.”
Wealth Lessons From “The Psychology Of Money” By Morgan Housel (Book Summary)
“Long-term planning is harder than it seems because people’s goals and desires change over time.”
OSR Team September Goals:
We hope this post serves as a point of inspiration to explore how money affects you emotionally and psychologically, how you interact with money, and to clarify your goals and align them with your wellness plan.
The Butterfly Hug is a fantastic self-soothing technique that can be used anywhere, anytime. It was originally created to be used with EMDR therapy but it's also very relaxing on its own!
The butterfly hug is a type of bilateral stimulation because it crosses the mid line (the center) between two bodies. This causes both hemispheres to work together simultaneously, which enhances the coherence of left brain (emotions and creativity) and right brain (logic, patterns, and control).
Here's how to do it:
A different way the butterfly hug used is by placing your right hand on top of left upper arm and vice versa. This will allow you to tap both upper arms at once if it's more comfortable that way!
Dogs have been supporting humans in a variety of ways for centuries, and their skills have been utilized in many different fields. One area where dogs have been making a profound impact is in the field of PTSD support. Dogs seem to be born with many of the qualities that are essential for a successful PTSD support animal, but there are also specific training programs that can help to further develop these skills.
Service dogs are specifically trained to perform tasks that assist their owners with physical or mental disabilities, such as providing balance support for someone who has mobility issues or retrieving objects for someone with limited dexterity. Therapy dogs, on the other hand, are not specifically trained to perform tasks but instead provide comfort and emotional support. While therapy dogs are not protected under ADA like service dogs are, they can still have a profound impact on the lives of those they assist.
One of the most important things that a support dog must be able to do is to remain calm in the face of potential triggers. This can be a difficult task for even the most well-trained dog, but it is essential for providing support to someone with PTSD.
In addition, support dogs must be able to provide physical and emotional comfort when needed, and they must be able to recognize when their human is experiencing a triggering event. With the right training and support, dogs can play an essential role in helping those with PTSD to lead healthy and happy lives.
Many Veterans find that living with a service dog brings them a great sense of companionship and helps to reduce their feelings of loneliness and isolation. According to many Veterans, their service dog is the only regular source of social interaction and companionship they have.
This companionship can be particularly beneficial for Veterans who live in rural areas or who do not have a strong support network of family and friends. In addition to providing companionship, service dogs increase certain quality of life domains for many veterans.
For Veterans suffering from PTSD, anxiety or depression, having a loyal and protective companion by their side can provide a tremendous sense of comfort and security.
Service dogs can also be trained to detect changes in their owner's mood and to intervene when they are feeling anxious, depressed or aggressive. By providing early intervention, service dogs can help to prevent crises and improve the overall wellbeing of their owners.
This study found that veterans with PTSD who had a service dog for 12 months reported increased physical activity, better sleep quality and fewer nightmares.
They also felt their symptoms, such as cognitive intrusions or hyper-arousal, were reduced significantly during this period when compared to before they partnered up with their furry friend.
At our clinic, we understand that pets can provide comfort and companionship in times of need. That's why we're happy to accommodate emotional support animals. These animals are specially trained to provide therapeutic support, and they can play an important role in the treatment of mental illness. If you're interested in bringing an emotional support animal to our clinic, we encourage you to get in touch with us. We'll be happy to help you navigate the process and book you a pet-friendly room.