Every day we come across encouragements to improve our physical health, or tips to help us understand our mental health, but seldom do we hear about financial health and the effect poor financial health can have on both your mental and physical wellbeing.

You probably already know that exercise can alleviate some of the stress and anxiety you may feel on a daily basis. But sometimes it’s important to try and tackle the root cause of that stress and anxiety as well: for a lot of people, money is a factor. It makes sense that we worry about money because, unfortunately, it controls almost every aspect of our lives – from having food to eat, to having somewhere to sleep, to even buying petrol to visit friends. Sometimes we can feel on top of our finances and on those days you’ll probably notice you feel much happier or, at least, less concerned about the few days before payday. However, on the worst days, it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.

If you are really struggling to cope with your finances, there is no shame in reaching out for help. There are plenty of free debt advice services available online and over the phone to discuss your situation and the options available to help you. It might just be a case of creating a more realistic budget to reduce overspending. But it could be that you need more formal help to manage your debts, for example. In any case, there is always someone there to help – even if it’s just a friend to lend an ear.

There are some things you can do every day to help improve your financial wellbeing and make steps towards financial stability. We can’t promise to revolutionise your financial life, but we do have a few tips to help you feel better about your money and in turn, improve your mental and physical health.

Definition of Financial Wellbeing

In order to understand how to improve it, you need to know what financial wellbeing is: feeling secure about your financial circumstances and in control of your money. For example, knowing that you can meet all of your bills on time, or feeling confident that buying a new pair of shoes for work won’t mean compromising on the weekly food shop.

How does my financial wellbeing impact my daily life?

Like physical and mental wellness, your financial wellbeing can influence your mood, decision making and how you interact with daily tasks and the people around you. You might not realise it, but nearly every decision you make is either driven by your financial circumstances or has an effect on them. For example, choosing to buy 3 packs of bacon instead of 1 because there’s a 3 for 2 offer. You now need to cook a massive fry up and you’ve spent double what you intended. It might seem trivial, but these are all choices we make that influence the balance in the bank, and therefore, the balance of our minds.

How does my financial wellbeing affect my financial circumstances?

Improving your financial wellbeing won’t automatically improve your financial circumstances – it’s a bit like the chicken and the egg scenario. You can’t improve one without improving the other, but similarly, if one takes a turn for the worst, the other will likely follow. It’s a delicate line and even one unexpected bill can tip the scales.

This is why it’s so important to be aware of your financial wellbeing and make active steps to improve it – even if you can’t do a lot about your actual income and expenditure – so that when something doesn’t go right, you have the emotional resilience to deal with it.

How can I improve my financial wellbeing?

There are a lot of things you can do daily, monthly and even yearly to improve your financial wellbeing. Unfortunately, it’s not something that will change overnight, but we’ve got a few tips below, and generally having more awareness of your financial circumstances is the biggest step.

Think about your finances in a positive way

We agree this is easier said than done. Sometimes it’s hard to remain positive but if you start every conversation or every decision-making process with a smile instead of dread, your general attitude to your money-based tasks will improve. As financial wellness and mental health are intrinsically linked, it’s important that your attitude towards your relationship with money is positive, even if the relationship itself needs some work.

Learn more about money

There are hundreds of resources available online to help you increase your financial literacy. Unfortunately, it isn’t taught in schools and many of us have to rely on a trial and error approach when it comes to money, bills and taxes. Doing a little bit of research – be it reading an article or watching a topical TV programme – can arm you with the information you need to make better financial decisions.

Create a realistic budget

Budgeting is something we all do on a monthly basis, but not many people proactively track their spending and adjust their budget according to monthly or annual circumstances. For example, have you factored in an upcoming MOT? Or even a dental check-up? It’s often the irregular payments which cause the most financial difficulty. Having an accurate budget which includes all these bills – or at least a budget that allows you to save money towards them for when they do arise – can go a long way to improving your financial wellbeing. Saving money on a budget is also much easier if your budget accurately reflects your actual income and expenditure.

Your financial wellbeing is so important to your everyday life, but it can be neglected or written off as something you can’t do anything about. But like going for a walk gets you moving and taking 30 minutes to mediate improves mental wellness, there are things you can do to improve your financial wellbeing and get a better control of your finances. It’s not a taboo subject and arming yourself with the resources to build your financial health will help your mental and physical wellbeing too.