Personal Financial Wellness
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© 2018-2020 Shake Your Money Tree


My father died at the age of 43 from a series of mini heart attacks he'd been having for years, which eventually stressed his heart so badly that it just finally gave up on him. Stress, lack of exercise, smoking and poor eating habits were the combined culprits, but they were all tied to poor financial health. You see, even though my dad succeeded in having great relationships and friendships, he definitely didn't succeed in the health and wealth department.


His early death led me to believe health is the first step toward wealth because if you don't have your health it's REALLY hard to create wealth… unless you inherit it or somehow win the lottery… and that probably ain't gonna happen for most of us!


That then led me to a career as a corporate wellness consultant - basically helping companies implement wellness programs for employees - and early on the entire focus of the industry was on physical health. So I learned a lot about what it takes for someone to be optimally healthy by eating right, exercising and not smoking.


But none of the programs and solutions at that point were tied to money… until now. In recent years this concept of "financial wellness" has ramped up because people are more stressed out over money than ever before. The gap between earnings and expenses keeps widening, FOMO is in high gear, and social media plays to our desire to have what "they" have, regardless of whether we actually want it or can afford to have it right now.


It's no wonder financial stress is top of mind for the media outlets.


But do you know that there are two types of stress: eustress and distress? In our day to day life, we often think we're just stressed when we're experiencing negative situations, like lack of money, or mismanagement of it, which leads us to believe all stress is bad stress. But that's not necessarily the case. Each one affects our bodies differently:


EUSTRESS is positive stress and includes experiences such as:

  • Receiving a promotion or raise at work

  • Starting a new job

  • Marriage

  • Buying a home

  • Having a child

  • Moving

  • Taking a vacation

  • Holiday seasons

  • Retiring

  • Learning something new or stepping outside your comfort zone


DISTRESS is negative stress and includes:

  • The death of a spouse or family member

  • Separating from a significant other or filing for divorce

  • Hospitalization (oneself or a family member)

  • Injury or illness (oneself or a family member)

  • Conflict in interpersonal relationships

  • Bankruptcy

  • Unemployment

  • Under-earning or under-paid

  • Sleep problems

  • Legal problems

  • Excessive job demands

  • Job insecurity


Of course, there are many more tied to our internal fears, worries, expectations, and thought patterns, but from these lists, do you notice any correlation?


I'll give you a hint: they're all impacted by MONEY.


Yep, money is the thread that ties together both positive and negative stress. It's what makes the world go 'round, which means, stress is unavoidable (unless you live as a naked hermit in the mountains).


And disease (dis-ease) and tension often show up when our subconscious mind is trying to tell our body it's overloaded and can't handle what it's trying to process (if you're looking for a great book, look no further than Louise Hay's "Heal Your Body").


Financial stress leads to poorer physical, mental, emotional and social health, which can then lead to the adoption of unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating, using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, and experiencing feelings of isolation, depression, hopelessness, and even suicide.

Whoa.…that's some serious shit!


So what's someone to do? We can't walk through life stress-free now, can we? Of course not, and if we never had the good kind of stress, then we'd be living a pretty boring life. So the trick is to control the things we can control to reduce the impact financial stress has on our bodies and minds.


Here are 3 tips for how you can start to improve your health and wealth at the same time:


  1. Identify your relationship with money - What stories did you learn about money as a child that you've subconsciously brought with you into adulthood? Was it here today and gone tomorrow? Hard to come by? Did it take long, hard workdays to earn? Was it plentiful and ready when you wanted it? Were your parents always pinching pennies, or living the good life? Did one parent use money as power or to offset guilt for never being there? Was money a replacement for love… or was love a replacement for money? Identifying your deeper relationship with money is the first step to making amends with it so you can experience abundance and joy when it comes your way. Below is a list of TED Talks that can get you started on the path to better understanding our collective relationship to money.

  2. Recognize the mind-body connection - stress triggers a shot of cortisol in the body, which increases appetite… but not just any appetite… an appetite for comfort foods laden with sugar and fat! The brain is shouting "I want calories!" because it wants to do all it can to sustain itself while it's trying to figure out how to get away from the stress. And the unhealthy foods lead to weight gain, which then leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure due to clogged arteries. Not to mention the bloating that comes with activation of inflammation around the middle gut. Ugh. So when you're feeling stress, both the good and bad kind, stop and think about whether that comfort food is going to starve your brain of the nutrients it needs to move you past the stress, or if you can instead opt for a healthier choice like protein, salad, and fruit which will give your brain the stuff it needs to make you a stress-busting superhero! Want to know more? Click here to learn more about choosing stress-reducing foods.

  3. Pay careful attention to your money - Not knowing whether you're going to overdraft your bank account causes distress because your brain is having to do double duty. It's subconsciously thinking "are there more deductions that will be coming out soon? did I remember to pay that bill? do I have enough in savings just in case I overdraft?" It's important to track your money through a budget and a checkbook register (yes, I know that sounds antiquated, but simply checking your bank balance still creates this nagging feeling in the back of your brain wondering whether there are expenses that might be coming out that you've forgotten about, which causes you to walk around with subconscious stress). Most of us don't use physical checks anymore, but there are electronic ways to use an online check register, such as ClearCheckbook or you can carry a debit card size register that can be found on Amazon. And if you keep forgetting to pay bills on time, or they sit unopened on the dining room table, either set up automatic bill pay or use a bill organizer like one of these.


Being physically healthy and managing your money may seem tedious and time-consuming, and it's scary to think that if you decide to start eating healthier and stop using your credit cards that you'll be deprived of life's enjoyments. I know it's hard to stay healthy when stress just makes you want to crawl up under a blanket with a bucket of ice cream and zone out watching reality TV.  But think about it - is that really living life?


I believe you can re-train your brain to get excited about managing money. I know it because I've done it. When I started to feel in control of what my money was doing, it released me from worrying about what it was doing to me. Picture your 70 or 80-year-old self… do you want to still be stressing over your finances? Or would you rather have adjusted your behaviors now so you could live a stressed-less lifestyle today and tomorrow?


The bottom line is the more stress and anxiety you carry about money, the less likely you are to deal with it. But when you're experiencing stress, you need to find healthy ways to cope, and the best way to cope with financial stress is to address your financial situation head-on. Get your head out of the clouds, the ground or out from up someone's butt and do something different today so you can experience a different, better tomorrow!


If you're unsure of how to even start, I'm here for ya! Just book a call to chat about your number one money stressor and we can find a way for you to overcome it.


And if you liked reading this post, I'd be forever grateful if you'd share it with the people you love. Just click one of the icons below in the comments section!


P.S. Don't forget to check out these TED Talks on Money!






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