Congrats! If you are reading this article, then you're clearly in a spot where you are looking to make some investments. Usually, when the term "investment" comes to mind, the first thing people think of is money! Most investors are looking for a strong percentage of return in a vehicle that can grow their fund long term with minimal risk. However, I'd like to argue that the best possible investment you can make is not one that will give you an outright financial return, but will continue to pay you dividends for the rest of your life in other areas.
INVEST IN YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.
That's right. If your mental health is not strong, it flows through into every single facet of your life. Everything from your romantic relationships, finances, energy levels, job performance, eating habits, health status, friendships, family interactions, goal achievements, thought content, ability to focus, life expectancy, sleep quality, and overall mood that determines how we view the world is impacted by the status of our mental health and state of mind. People won't blink an eye to spend on average $155 per month on physical fitness and hundreds of dollars a month to eat organic, yet for some reason taking care of our mental wellbeing still carries a stigma. This is ironic, since the statistics each year become more and more concerning regarding the general state of mental health in America. So, if you are suffering from high levels of chronic stress or anxiety, like 80% of Americans, it may be a time to make the most important investment you've ever made - an investment in your mental wellness.
Okay, so hopefully after thinking all this through, you're sold on the idea that investing in bettering your mental wellness can absolutely transform every area of your life and essentially make it a whole lot better. You may be asking - what's the best way to do that? I'm glad you asked!
1. Prioritize self-care
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. This can be setting aside time to do something you enjoy, visiting with a friend you don't get to see often, or making a commitment to do something you know will make you happy. I like to look at self-care like the old air plane analogy - you must save yourself first before you can focus on saving others!
2. Spend More, Waste Less
According to a Gallup poll study in 2013 only 32% - or one in three households keep a budget. That means a large majority of people are not keeping track of their finances in any organized fashion. If you were to break down where you spend your money each month, do you know where it's going? Are you spending money on things that bring long term value to your life, or are you spending money on things that bring you short term pleasure? By putting a budget together, you'll be able to spend more money in the right places, and less money in the wrong places.
3. Work With a Therapist
Working with a therapist is one of the highest forms of self-care. A therapist is not just a friend you pay to talk to or a one hour weekly vent session. When you commit to working on yourself through talk therapy, goals will be set. You're essentially working with a professional who's spent a minimum of 6+ years fully devoted to studying human behavior, teaching evidence based techniques, and changing peoples lives through researched backed approaches. Working with a therapist provides you with a completely unbiased, third party person who can give you insight on yourself that can literally change your life. Plus, with technology, you don't even have to leave your house to get top notch talk therapy! So ditch your preconceived notions of what therapy is and give it a try! What do you have to lose?