Can Money Actually Help Your Mental Health?

Can Money Actually Help Your Mental Health?

Let's analyze the correlation between low income and mental health.

Ahh, the age-old philosophical question of whether or not money can fulfill a person's life. Of course it cannot, I mean, the only thing that can fulfill your life is love and God and doing good in the world.

That person must have never been broke.

I've done some hard hitting research through mental health in relation to socioeconomic welfare to try to analyze whether money can actually buy happiness. Of course, the knee-jerk reaction is no, it cannot, but why is it that people with lower levels of income are seemingly less happy (on the whole) than people who aren't struggling for their rent, or their next meal.

So the first thing that comes into play when discussing happiness is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. We have probably all been made familiar with this chart through either psychology or health classes. At the bottom of the pyramid, there are things you need to survive, such as shelter, food and water. As you climb the pyramid, you require more and more to become truly self-actualized (the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need that is present in everyone).

Things like love, sense of self, and pride are higher on the pyramid, because in nature we need to take care of surviving before we can love, and love before we can be self actualized (I'm paraphrasing this concept by a lot, but I think we all at least somewhat understand).

If a person cannot afford to pay rent, or feed themselves or their children, they use a lot of energy on those things, versus people who don't have to worry about it, and instead focus on being happy, or self-aware. For this reason, money can in fact buy happiness.

There is also a legitimate health risk to having less money. We all know the salad at McDonald's is about $5 whereas a burger is $1.12, and that's a big contributing factor as to why people who have less money are in worse shape (typically). Healthy food costs more money, and if your options are either not eating or eating a greasy burger, I think it's obvious what the choice is. The worse you eat, the worse you feel, and the less happy you are.

Aside from the cost of food, you also have to analyze things like money to own a gym membership, or time to use a gym. The more hours someone needs to work to make ends meet, the less time they have to focus on working out and recharging themselves mentally, which in turn can make someone's emotional tension build up quite a bit. Prescriptions and mental health treatment is also something low income people often go without. Healthcare is expensive without insurance, and without insurance, "extra" things like therapy and doctors visits are the first to go.

Stress can wear on a person's happiness to the point of developing problems such as depression, anxiety, or even eating disorders. "Happiness" may be hard to define, especially universally, but basic things such as the willingness to be healthy and motivated are decent measuring sticks of happiness as a starting point. It can be impossible to be truly happy solely through means of finances, but it sure is a good place to start.

Merriam-Webster has several definitions of happiness, including prosperity, good fortune, and contentment. If someone is unable to feed their family or live in a safe home, how would they be able to say they are prospering, have good fortune or are content?

People who are happy are productive members of society, and are statistically more likely to have better approval ratings at their place of work and do well in school. We as a nation should prioritize a better society, and that's why our government regulates things like welfare, and section nine housing.

Money can buy security. Money can buy a full stomach and a roof over your head. Money can buy therapy and doctor's visits. Money can buy safety. Happiness is made up of these things, and many more that can't be achieved before these, and therefore, money buys happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.


It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.

These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Fighting to Reach what i believe in will be worthwhile, in the end

To dreams worth having, to obstacles of all sizes, and to the finish line that might never come yet forever keeps me going.


Dear Life Goals,

Alright, look.

Being armed with the ability to, you know, more or less read the English language, I can see the word "life" plastered up there in your title. "Life," huh? Four unmistakable letters spelling out years and years and years of simply biding my time, hanging out, waiting. A quite literal life sentence, as it were, goading me, pressuring me, waiting on me to pick up the slack and pull myself to the end through struggles, heartache, aches and pains, misery, frequent hopelessness, unexpected trials, personal flaws. Sounds like a dream, that journey does.

I just…I've got to ask you. Are you positive - as in beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt positive - that the timeline can't quicken its pace to my doorstep, arms outstretched and ready to draw me into the overwhelming excitement of seeing all my dreams realized in the blink of an eye? Are you sure that I can't skip the buildup, passing go and collecting my life's worth without all the years and years and years standing in front of me?

Yeah. I figured.

Because you wouldn't be life goals if you didn't take time, would you? You wouldn't be life goals if you didn't push me through a lifetime, providing me with the hope and motivation that one day, I might look back on my timeline and have one last chance to smile, at peace with my eyes closed. More than that, more than definition, you wouldn't be a life goal worth having if you weren't the culmination of my work in this world, the result of my determination, what I've reaped from what I've sown. If I can chase my purpose through you, then what is the point of the purposeless life that I would live after you're gone?

I can't help but ask if I can bypass the extra steps and jump straight to the end. My impatience rivals that of toddlers and probably wins out more times than not. I've never been a big fan of waiting. But playing the long game is the only way to win. There isn't one path to the end or only one outcome, yet there are countless victories to be had. The short game, a straight shot to a simple prize, isn't why I'm here, is it? I want to be proud of what I do with my life, proud that I had the courage to chase my dreams through a mountain of mistakes and failures.

I know, I know, I'm sorry I keep bothering. Heh, I just can't help but check the status percentage from time to time, even though I know it hasn't changed. I want to see results, and that desire pushes me to invest more of my time, my energy, and myself into making what I've been dreaming of happen. I know it'll take time, but fighting to reach what I believe in will be more than worthwhile, in the end. I hope to end my last chapter knowing I fought through a lifetime for you. Then honestly, I'll have reached you no matter what my finale looks like.

Until next time we talk, I hope you'll continue to remind me that dreams don't come a dime a dozen. I hope you'll help me to have faith in myself and that you'll keep me going even if my utterly unreasonable impatience would have me giving up and hiding my life away in couch potato statuses and empty Dorito bags.

Thanks again,

A girl who's working on it

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