Eight Tips to Achieve Health, Wealth and Happiness

lifestyle wellness Jun 22, 2021
Eight Tips to Achieve Health, Wealth and Happiness

Money, money, money. We spend a lot of our lives wanting it, earning it, spending it – and wasting it. Money figures high in the national conversation right now as the government attempts to manage the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and it has become a source of worry for many as incomes have dropped significantly and a deep recession looms.

Put a smile on your face: think beyond a bigger stack of cash for health, wealth and happiness

Most of us would say a little more money wouldn’t go amiss. But would more of it actually make us happy? Well, yes, for those struggling to pay bills and shop for food, some extra cash in the bank would help eliminate financial anxiety.

But for most people, the equation “more money = more happiness” isn’t so simple. To obtain the holy grail of HWH (that’s “health, wealth and happiness” to you and me), we need to think beyond just a bigger stack of cash.

Although the Covid-19 crisis is affecting us all in different ways – some have lost jobs or been furloughed, while others continue to earn their normal salaries – we do have one thing in common at the moment: we are all listening to the same scary predictions about recession and austerity. 

To improve our lives and guard against this uncertain future, now is the ideal time to reassess our attitude to money, think about mental resilience and learn some new habits to put a smile on our faces. Here are our eight HWH tips.

1, Get over the past

First, think about where your relationship with money comes from, especially if you are generally anxious about your finances. Was money never discussed during your childhood? Did you have a parent who mismanaged it or completely controlled the purse-strings? If you can better understand it, you can grasp how it affects your thinking – and behaviour.

Financial coach Catherine Morgan suggests getting “financially naked”. “Be aware of what you say internally about money – listen to your language,” she says. “Changing your thoughts can change your emotions, which in turn changes how you behave. 

“Say you want to stop overspending on food by £200 a month. Think about what brings you happiness in the long term – something you could put that £200 towards; this will provide you with the motivation to then change your behaviour.” 

She emphasises that you can’t alter your relationship with money without transforming how you think. “If you jump into changing the behaviour before changing the thought process, it won’t work. Rather than operate from a state of effect – where we become victims of our challenges and say ‘I am like this is because of my dad, or because I was never taught’ –operate from a place of cause where we can reframe anything.”

This means changing how you speak to yourself about money. You can start making small but significant changes to your behaviour, such as opening your banking app every day or putting a scary bill by the kettle while you make a brew. You won’t instantly transform your relationship with finance but you should aim to feel more positive after a month. Once you are in a happier place thinking and talking about money, why not break any negative cycle and teach your children about finance to instil positive ideas?

Instil a positive attitude to money when you teach your child about finances

2, Recognise the difference between money and wealth

They are not the same thing. Wealth is found in all sorts of places: your close relationships; your looser social connections; the interests and activities that fill you with energy and delight; a job that brings you satisfaction; access to learning and green spaces; your health and your home. There is no doubt that money and happiness are linked, but more of one doesn’t necessarily mean more of the other. Morgan points out: “You can win the lottery and not feel differently about yourself.”

She advises focusing on self worth, not net worth. “If you have to take a pay cut and you are status driven, it will make you feel bad.” 

However, if you use your different sources of wealth as a tool to cultivate long-lasting positive feelings, it can lead to a happy life. That means devoting time to those relationships and activities that bring you joy.

3, Assess your goals

There is talk of Britain facing the worst recession in 300 years if the pandemic lockdown lasts until the summer. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said unemployment could hit 3.4m – up from 1.3m before the coronavirus outbreak – leaving about one in ten workers without a job.

This means reassessing our goals and, if necessary, changing priorities. Life plans like getting on the property ladder or having a big wedding may have to be put on hold. Some of us may even start to see paying our bills as a feat in itself. Business coach Mary Baird-Wilcock says she has spoken to her two children – Zoë, 11, and Otto, 9 – about a “hierarchy of needs”: “I explained we need food, water, shelter and safety – and that’s it. We’ve had heart-to-heart chats about only buying what we need right now.”

That is not to say you can’t have ambitions if you are earning less; you could learn to build your wealth in non-monetary ways. For example, if you planned to invest in stocks and shares but no longer have the available cash to do so, you could invest your time in upskilling, so that further down the line you are in a stronger position to earn more. You could also build professional relationships by investing your time doing volunteer work.

If the industry you work in is hit particularly hard, you could take a job in a sector that is in demand, such as supermarkets, delivery services and social care. It’s worth remembering that our working lives are decades-long and an eventual move back into the industry where you would choose to work is not impossible. 

4, Look after your mental health

Three-quarters of Britons are stressed about money, according to the employee benefits firm Salary Finance. This is worrying for the nation’s mental health. 

In maintaining peace of mind, Morgan says the usual tactics work. “Physical exercise, being more connected with friends and family, having a comfort box filled with your favourite things – a gratitude diary, chocolate, a much-loved photo – are helpful when you have low moments,” she says.

If you are struggling with debt, practical and emotional support is essential. You can call a number of organisations for this. StepChange, and National Debtline, provide free, confidential advice and support to anyone worried about debt. Turn2us helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services. PayPlan offers free advice and debt solutions, such as debt-management plans.

Morgan says it is important to find a sense of well-being elsewhere if you don’t have financial security. “We define that personally, don’t we? For me it’s sitting on a couch with a glass of wine and a book.”

5, Learn how to talk about money better with your partner

Discussing money with your partner can be challenging enough. Throw in uncertainty about one person’s job, or one party suddenly only bringing in £94 a week because they’re on universal credit, and an already difficult conversation becomes even harder.

You may need to adjust how you talk about money during and after the pandemic. Sensitivity to your partner’s feelings will be important, especially if it’s them who has lost their job or had to take a pay cut.  

“Accept you will both have a different relationship with money, which, if you discuss it, can be insightful,” says Morgan. “Use language that creates an opportunity to listen to each other’s needs and meets both those needs.” Don’t shut each other out. Instead, keep the money dialogue open: review your budget and reassess financial goals together.

Remember that each of you is more than your earning power and brings other qualities to the table. For example, the partner who enjoys DIY could channel their inner handyman and do all those annoying jobs that need to be done while they are furloughed or unemployed. 

For a bit of light relief, take our relationships and money quiz.

6, Give to charity

There are lots of studies that show volunteering and donating to charity boost physical and mental health, giving you a “helper’s high”. There is evidence that when we give, we secrete “feel good” chemicals in our brains, such as serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical), dopamine (a “happy hormone”) and oxytocin (a compassion and bonding hormone). 

You don’t need to donate money; you could donate your time to a worthy cause. You can get ideas in our How to make a difference during the coronavirus crisis article, and get warm fuzzy feelings at the same time. 

7, Choose experiences rather than things

A 20-year study by Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor who has been looking at the link between money and happiness at Cornell University in New York, reached what might seem a poignant conclusion: spend your money on experiences rather than things.

He argues that buying things certainly makes us happy – but only for a while; we quickly get used to them after an initial period of excitement. Experiences, however, introduce us to new perspectives and create memories. Shared experiences also connect us more to other people than shared consumption. For example, you are more likely to feel connected to someone with whom you hiked the Yorkshire Three Peaks than to someone who also happens to have bought the same make of car. 

Of course, we define what is and isn’t an experience differently. A lot of what we spend money on could be considered a thing, an experience or a bit of both; a new bike will hopefully lead to exciting rides. Gilovich suspects that the people who are happiest are those who are best at wringing experiences out of what they buy, whether it’s singing lessons or hiking boots. If you have a reduced budget for fun and leisure, you may want to bear this in mind when deciding where to spend money.

8, Remember: cheaper isn’t always better value

It is especially at a time when we have less money that we become so focused on getting a cheap deal that we forget good value. Buying products in sales – and retailers have plenty of them on their websites right now – often gives us the psychological thrill of bagging a bargain, but unfortunately it may only be temporary if the item we acquire isn’t durable. 

Now is a good time to get wise with our spending. Need a new wardrobe? Maybe it’s better to buy high-quality second-hand clothes rather than something cheap and flimsy that may only last a couple of years. It’s understandable to go cheap on a purchase to try to save money. But you can easily regret that decision a few months later. Carefully consider your purchase before picking the cheaper option to make sure it really is the best deal.








Source: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/money-mentor/article/health-wealth-happiness/

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