Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist at the time of writing, but you never know if this is something that I could explore in the future.
Personally, I’ve spent the last four years understanding, observing, reading and experimenting the correlation between money and mental health. Obviously there is still a lot more to learn. To bridge the two, I do see the connection especially when it comes to investing, stocks trading, debt, cashflow management and preparing oneself for a new phase in life.
The way we look at money today shouldn’t just stem from a silo angle of how the money was acquired – chances are most of your income and mine are stemming from active income, meaning we get paid for our skills either through employment, commissions and paid partnerships.
We should also look at the environment we are in, in parallel to our career. Our environment can make or break us, especially when the underlying issue is money. Money is tangible hence making it easy for us to identify if it is scarce or if there is surplus.
But what about money and its impact on our mental health? How do we measure this? It’s intangible, right?
Imagine a person who is going through crisis; could be the death of a loved one, illness, divorce and other event. His or her productivity would be affected, perhaps this person would need time off from work or more MC, or a person could be accumulating new debt due to insufficient medical coverage hence the need to swipe on credit card (because seriously, when you’re in a position of life or death, the last thing you’ll think about is money – can deal with that later) or an individual who is barely making ends meet who is now moving forward with divorce and custody of three kids (legal fees are expensive!).
All of the events above can hurt a person mentally, financially, emotionally and to some extent, physically.
Now, more than ever, the way we view money should not just be about how we make an income but also its impact towards our mental health. No psychologist could assure you that having more money can guarantee you a peace of mind. But then if you ask me, I’d rather cry in a Hermes boutique with a new Birkin in toe rather than crying in my car (100% of the time, the latter takes place and there’s nothing a good sleep can’t solve and one or two sessions with my life coach).
Jokes aside, what we could do to heal our fear, worries and anxiety when it comes to money is to understand the underlying source of these emotions. Some people are not used to feeling these “big feelings” which result in such high level of internal conflict. Questions like why am I feeling this way, I’m a five-figure earner yet I feel so empty, blablabla, all these blame game within has got to stop. You can be well off yet feel so shitty at the same time. You are allowed to. Remember, we are human first.
Second, you’re not obligated to tell the whole word about your situation, because chances are, you’ll probably be telling the wrong people and this could lead to a potential (bigger) damage. Most of the people out there are not trained to work with our layers (and layerssssss) of emotions. Hence why you could see right now there’s an increase of mental health awareness as we begin to enter endemic of COVID-19. We gotta normalise and prioritise the discussion of mental health.
Especially for some of the folks out there with their judgement of oh you don’t pray/zikir that’s why you’re feeling low, well giving them the benefit of the doubt, they’re probably right that our good deeds could be 1,000% better, but who are we to play the religion card when mental health, anxiety, depression is also a form of illness? No doctors have cured cancer or heart attack with a prayer alone, right? Stop the double standard. There is cure to mental health, let’s be more open and less judgmental eh?
Last but not least, remember, tie your camel first and then tawakkal. It is an excerpt from the Quran. I’m here to work out a suitable step-by-step, easy to follow financial plan for you to overcome your money situation. Whatever they are, know that Allah has promised ease twice in the Quran – فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا * إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا.