Monday, March 4, 2019
Eliminating Your Money Depression
Overcoming depression is tough. I don’t begin to claim I have the answers for that, not even one bit. Having gone through it myself, I know how it can be. Money is a huge factor in people’s mental state. With an overwhelming amount of Canadian’s in debt, it is no wonder that depression looms rampant. Beating money depression is akin to beating depression in general. Ultimately it is all about change. It is simple to say that changing your life will make it better, but is it realistic? I know straightening out my money issues helped me become happier, so maybe we are on to something. Today I gave you my 7 tips on eliminating your money-depression. Maybe this will lead to happier, healthier and wealthier people.
1) Address the issue
Well, what’s the issue? I start my client meetings by going through a set of questions to learn a bit more about the individual and their family. One of my first questions is: What is your greatest money concern? Many reply back, “I need more money.” We often use vague, somewhat flippant retorts to cover a deeper issue. Asking why, is much more substantive than asking what. Why do you need more money? Why is what you have not enough? Do you know what you have? What can be done about it? Addressing the issue is never fun. In fact, it is terrifying and emotionally draining. Unfortunately, to overcome sadness, we often have to get a bit sad. Take a moment and write down the things that make you the most upset when it comes to your money. Beside each one come up with a possible solution. Need more money, get another or a better job. Don’t have enough savings, cut down on spending or create a savings plan, or both. Drowning in debt, make debt reduction a priority. We all have issues we need to address, I know I have many. Bringing them into the light, even if only in our minds, is the first step to solving them. Ignoring them gets you nowhere.
2) Ask for help
We often can’t get outside our own head. That’s why financial advisors have financial advisors. We need second opinions from unbiased individuals. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is actually a sign of strength. You have the strength to admit the problem is above your level of expertise and you don’t want to go it alone. We have emotional attachments to money. An outside voice will guide you through your problems with no emotional attachment. Sadly, sometimes the answer is right in front of our faces and this is where others can help. Debt experts, financial planners, investment representatives all bring a level of expertise that can lead you down the right path. Also letting a friend know about your worries can help too. We have a tendency to deal with financial struggles alone, out of shame. The best decision I made was telling someone about what I was dealing with. I instantly felt better.
3) Find a hobby, a cheap one
Having a good, cheap hobby can take your mind off your financial worries. Learning a new trade, a new language, joining a local group, or anything you can do at little cost is very beneficial to your mental state. Bad money decisions are like any bad decision. They are often done when we feel vulnerable, lonely, or sad. Being active in a hobby can distract you during those times and help to eliminate bad money moves. It will allow you to meet other people, learn something new and maybe even upgrade your skills in the meantime. Idle time is bad time, so fill those gaps with something constructive.
4) Get physically fit
Having recently lost some weight, I can attest that you feel a lot better when you are in better shape. It is no surprise that wealthier people are often healthier. Focusing on your physical health is a great way to make your life infinitely better. The world looks at you differently and even more important, you look at yourself differently. Sadly, poor money management often coincides with poor health decisions. Some of the least financially successful people I know, eat out daily, often fast food. They also aren’t physically fit which also leads to more depression and anxiety. This leads to more poor health decisions and poorer financial decisions. The cycle is endless. Break that chain and start taking small steps to better your health. Both the financial and health journey will be long and often painful but are very important. Look at it this way, you may be broke but at least you’ll look good.
5) Avoid substances
It is no secret that drowning your sorrows in vice is not healthy. I say this while nursing a slight hangover from a wine filled Saturday night. The problem with alcohol and drugs is that they don’t solve anything. All the problems are still there when you wake up, but now you’re left even more depressed. I know the day after drinking I feel miserable, literally in the dumps completely. Here is another good reason to avoid substances, they are damn expensive. Seems counterproductive to be upset about money problems and drinking those worries away, all the while blowing more money to do it. I know for me, alcohol messes with my balances. I feel literally horrible the day after drinking, a complete mess. I am not saying don’t let loose and have fun, but if your finances are in dire straights, maybe letting loose isn’t the answer.
6) Help others
Do you know what is a sure-fire way to feel better about yourself? See someone else who has it way, way worse than you. That was a bit cruel, but it’s true. The key is that you help others who need it. Listen, no matter how bad you have it, there are always others who may have it worse. Volunteering and helping others will give you a confidence boost and an overall warm feeling. You need these warm moments to help you get through the struggle of making your money better. Remember I said it wouldn’t always be a fun time straightening out your money woes. Feeling good about your place in this world, even if only for a bit of time weekly, will help you through the rough patches. Besides that, it leads to a better society in general, and we all want that.
7) Stick to the plan
Having a plan to make your money situation better is the key to your success. Sticking to it will give you a sense of confidence that will propel you forward. You see, a major issue with most of us is that we don’t see things through. Self-doubt has us thinking nothing will work, so why try. This leads to major procrastination. Why don’t we stick to plans and procrastinate? It is because we don’t see results right away. If you go to the gym every day this week your body will look the exact same by week’s end. In fact, you will probably be in a lot of pain as well. The same is true for your money. If you spend less this week, avoid temptation, and even save a little money, the results will be somewhat underwhelming. Your account might have a little more money in it, big deal. Do it for a month and now you will see some progress. Do it for 3 and now the muscles/savings start to show. Do it for a year and your life will be changed. The thing is, failure is not the biggest problem when you start down a path. There are only two options when you try bettering your life. You either succeed, or you learn something. Both are valuable. When you don’t try something to better your life there are two other options. Doubt and depression. Even if you think it won’t work, keep trying. No one ever lost money by not spending it. No one ever got fat by going to the gym. Your persistence will pay off.
Money depression is real. It affects us all and we have to take the steps to crush our financial anxiety. The key is to make wise decisions, even if they seem small. Those small ones add up to big progress over time and that will give you the ability to leave money depression in the past, for good.
“Depression is the inability to construct a future.” – Rollo May
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