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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Cobb

Mental Health and Finances

Have you ever found yourself in a financially stressful time, only to dig yourself deeper?

Or do you ever sit by helplessly while friends or family show stress and strain over money, only to also watch them continue to spend on non-essential items?

Financial decisions are emotional decisions. Therefore, our mental health is tied closely to our ability to make sound financial decisions. Having good mental health contributes to good mental health is imperative to good financial health.

How can we break this cycle?

Many counselors use a technique called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. The basic premise of CBT is that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are in constant interaction. Another premise of CBT is that we have some thoughts which are maladaptive or untrue. These thoughts are not serving us to lead productive healthy lives. These types of thoughts are called cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions can be challenged through counseling and replaced with more functional thoughts.

Let’s take for example the issue with money. Individuals can sustain themselves with various levels of income. People at various levels of income also have stress about money. Some individuals make 6 figures and are constantly broke while other families are living on 60k a year and feel secure. Financial insecurity despite high levels of income is an example of a cognitive distortion

The first step to feeling financially secure is making a clear budget and living with it. The second step is accepting the budget and lifestyle as providing enough. Many times, sacrifices must be made to achieve financial security. You have a choice to make when changes are made, which statement do you want to believe? “I have enough and I am making a choice to be financially secure and smart”, or “I cannot buy what I want, and I am living a lower quality life than others”.

Do you find yourself believing you do not have enough even when you make an average amount of money?

Counselors use CBT to address these thoughts and the feelings that often surround them. Many individuals feel depressed or anxious because of money, or the feeling of a lack of money, while other individuals can live on less and find contentment. Some individuals engage in unproductive spending habits because of their feelings of depression and anxiety related to money. When spending and sho

pping become a way to feel better about stress, depression, and anxiety, individuals become locked in a never-ending cycle.

Counseling can help break the cycle, but it is up to you. You must be willing to accept a new reality. One where you can be happy with less or what you already have. You must accept a reality where you recognize that the fleeting good feeling of shopping and spending is creating the long-lasting feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.

To find out more about CBT, other cognitive distortions that are having a negative impact on your life, or other functional life skills that counseling can address, speak with one of our Licensed Professional Counselors!

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