Live Well: Money, Mental Health, and Success

Live Well: Money, Mental Health, and Success


Get Money, but Stay Sane 

Money is a big topic. It affects your relationships, dreams, goals, even your mental health. Money (having it and the lack of it) digs deep into the subconscious. Money is almost always paired up with big life topics: 

  • Money and happiness
  • Money and relationships
  • Money and god
  • Money and divorce
  • Money and success
  • Money and stress

The list goes on (really, Google it.) But this article capitalizes on money and mental health. Because all of those topics boil down to how you feel about yourself and life. Money influences your self-worth and behavior.



Reporters for highlight a study explaining how money can dictate a person's actions. For example, when you're in the hustle you may be more self-absorbed and less altruistic. You are staring your goals square in the face and will prefer working alone to get there. It's a coin-flip here, the desire for money makes you greedy while encouraging you to be self-sufficient. 

Greed and Money 

Greed is a laborious emotion to unpack. It powers you through difficult conquests (and delivers) but psychologists have found that it can destroy relationships and diminish how happy you feel in your daily life. If you suffer from depression or anxious thoughts, rethink using greed to meet your goals. Chances are you will invite more depression and anxiety into your life by living in a state of anticipatory anxiety. "Tomorrow I'll be rich and happy." What about today, are you less than because you haven't reached your goals yet? There are other ways to money and achievement. 

Not sold on throwing greed, out the window yet? Philip Chard a special correspondent for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, talks about greed as if it's a parasite, "While sometimes rewarding an individual with money and power, it also wreaks havoc on both the person it possesses and those affected by his or her actions. And I do mean, "possesses." Greed alters its human host, influencing most, if not all other emotions and their antecedent behaviors."

He talks about how primal of emotion greed is. Back in the hunter and gathering periods of human evolution damning up resources served us. No one could afford to starve through a harsh winter. But our ancestral ties to greed didn't die off with evolution, now it's best-buds with money. And many people have gone to great lengths to become rich and powerful. Success materialism (i.e. wealth equals success) drives many of us to rapid consumerism. We're not knocking money here. You can seek success without the parasitic behaviors of greed diminishing your happiness and alienating others. 

Let's Get Your Bag, Not Greed

How can you get rich without being greedy? You get smart. You think like a person who is already rich. Self-made millionaire, Steve Siebold, says you need to change your mindset. You employ logic, not greed. With a good and logical financial strategy, you can get money and be successful. He recommends using emotions as motivation, but he makes no mention of greed. 

Spend Your Money Strategically

You can improve your life satisfaction and mental health, right now by checking where you spend your money. Your money should go towards purchases that simplify, streamline, or free up your schedule. Buy yourself time to do what you enjoy. 


Not everything that makes you happy has a cost, it's good to keep that in mind. Low on cash? Make a list of free activities you can do today. Encourage yourself to be optimistic. Your pockets might be empty, but you can honestly have a good day if you try. 

Realistic Money Goals

A Princeton University study found those making 75,000+ don't experience more happiness than when they made 75k. But when individuals make less than $75,000 per year, the "worse they feel." So, if you think being a millionaire is the only way you'll be happy, that's not necessarily true, you only need to make 75,000 a year. And that's doable, you can get to that number, it's attainable. 

All of your goals should feel attainable. A seven-figure salary can certainly be your aim but set that aside for now. If you're making less than 50,000 per year, change your goal to 75,000. When you hit 60k, change it to 90k and so forth. We're throwing around numbers here, but you get the point. 

Personal goal setting should follow the SMART model (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). This is the best method when taking your mental health into consideration. When we can't meet our goals, it leads to a spiral of self-doubt. We have one life and honestly, there's not a lot of time to spend doubting ourselves and feeling like a failure. 



SMART goals are more likely to be reached. Meeting goals "boosts mental health by affording you a sense of accomplishment and increased self-esteem, you wouldn't have felt as immediately as with a far-out goal," says Eugene Therapy. When goals can't be met within a reasonable timeframe, they begin to feel disconnected from your reality. Unattainable goals don’t make you feel accomplished; they do the exact opposite, not meeting goals could make you feel like a failure. SMART goals on the other hand move you toward success, money, and life satisfaction. What it boils down to is the type of goals you make for yourself are the predictors of your success, financial status, and happiness.