Investing in our Mental Health
Why is it worth investing in your mental health?
In my business, I get to take on multiple roles, including therapist and personal trainer. Through the years I have heard people share many perceived barriers to investing in their health, with the most common barriers being time and financial resources. My hope with this post is to acknowledge this concern and to better understand ways to invest in health that are not just centered around finances.
The brain automatically assumes money when it hears the word investment, but investment can mean lots of other things. It is a choice to look at the word investment in another way. The real assets that every person has to offer are time and attention.
Time is a leveling playing field for us. Everyone on earth has 24 hours a day - 168 hours per week. No more, no less. We are all spending that time already. But how are we spending it? Time is not a harvestable asset. We have what we have and we cannot make more. We also cannot save it for later.
How much of our time are we spending on our mental health? Do we practice prayer, meditation, mindfulness, reading, journaling, breathing exercises, therapy? If not...why? Telling ourselves we don’t have time is a narrative - open to change. We have the same amount of time as everyone else. We have to set aside time for our mental health and wellness...to invest in it. More time will not magically appear for us. The best time to start is right now.
Attention is another resource. Attention allows us to use our time effectively. We’ve all had the experience where we spend time doing something, but our attention was elsewhere, and we effectively wasted the time and did not accomplish much. Setting aside undistracted and intentional time for our mental health is important.
Have you ever had a workout where you spend most of the time talking? I have...and I often think of how it would have been more effective to spend the time doing something else. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who is on their phone? It’s difficult because their attention is elsewhere so it feels like time wasted. Practicing focusing our attention intentionally when working on our mental health is important.
Money is the very last piece of the “investment” puzzle for me. Money is the expeditor of change. It often helps to speed up the growth process...or the lack of growth. It’s not necessary for growth and change, but it certainly can help. Money can help you purchase apps, tools, coaching and therapy which can help speed up the change process for you. However, if money is the only thing we are investing, then nothing gets accomplished. I’ve spent money on apps, tools, and therapy that I never used or showed up for and it was money wasted.
So as we are considering this year, let’s make a commitment to work on our health and wellness. Before we ever spend our first dollar, let’s consider how we can first begin to invest time and attention to our mental health. With a willingness to invest our time and attention into our health, we will find much greater success in our journey.