Money Matters:  So Does Our Mental Health and Relationships

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

Financial difficulties are a common cause of stress and anxiety and drastically reduce recovery rates for common mental health conditions.

  1. People with depression and problem debt are 4.2 times more likely to still have depression 18 months later than people without financial difficulty.
  2. People in problem debt are 3x’s as likely to have thought about suicide in the past year.
  3. Those with the lowest incomes in a community suffer 1.5 to 3 times more frequently from depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses than those with the highest income.
  4. The negative association between poverty and mental health outcomes is well established in public health and epidemiology.

 Wealth Does Not Guarantee Mental Health

A large bank account, career achievements and real estate holding are not a reflection of how well (or how badly), someone might be dealing dealing with his/her mental health and relationships.    During the past 35 years as a psychotherapist and sex therapist, I have treated some of the wealthiest, most ‘successful’ individuals and families in America in my private practice.  Many of my clients inherited generational wealth. The majority were self-made. They had money, success, various homes around the world, private jets, memberships to the most exclusive clubs and access to some of the most powerful people in the world.

However, if you believe for one moment that these luxuries in themselves pave the way to genuine happiness, you will be sorely disappointed.  They never have and never will.  The issues that brought my clients into therapy with me included: depression, anxiety, stress, substance abuse of every kind, domestic violence, problems stemming from their family of origin and sexual and relationship problems.

Successful people will tell you that their achievements come at a high cost of letting go of some parts of their life.  Their choice to focus on building and growing a company, may mean missing important family occasions, choosing work over friends, spending extra hours at the office or isolating at home to continue working late into the night.  It’s this imbalance in life that worsens both mental and physical  health, with the potential to destroy intimate relationships.

When I completed my graduate and post-graduate training at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, I worked as a school social worker in the Inner City Schools.  Upon reflection, the only real difference between my rich and famous clientele and the Inner City families that I worked with was that my wealthy clients have the resources to escape for short period of time from their problems and disappointing relationships- only to return to their cycle of discontent and hopelessness……. UNLESS they choose to acknowledge, address and resolve as best as they can (even though we can’t change history), the issues that continue to get in the way of their lives and relationships.

Sigmund Freud was right when he said that true happiness is about love, meaningful work and authentic connections with people who you care about and who genuinely care about you.  If you believe this to be true, ask yourself this question:  How much time this last month or two did you spend on nurturing your relationships with your significant other, children, friends and family members?

No matter how hard Madison Avenue and Wall Street tries to convince us that buying the right kind of potion or product or that having X number of  dollars in our bank accounts and stock portfolios will transform our lives, the truth lies elsewhere.



 

Happiness Research:  The 85 Years and Counting Harvard Study

Dr. Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist, is currently directing the Harvard Study of Adult Development-one of the most comprehensive studies of emotional well-being in history.  The longitudinal study began in 1935 during the Great depression and counted President John F. Kennedy and longtime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee as original subjects.  The study tracked an original group of 724 men and more than 1,300 of their male and female descendants over three generations.  They asked thousands of questions and took hundreds of measurements to  collect data on what really keeps people healthy and happy.

It’s All About Love,  Meaningful Connections….. and Self-Care

So what did Dr. Waldinger have to say when asked to present his conclusions on this unprecedented study?  He cited one message that came through loud and clear:  “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.  Period”.  He found that good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains.

So if you want to make one decision to ensure your own health and happiness-make it this one-cultivate warm, loving, meaningful and authentic relationships of all kinds!

And don’t forget about the importance of eating well, exercise, getting enough sleep, positive visualization, dancing, listening to music, helping others, giving back, cultivating loving and supportive friendships and making sure that you eliminate all toxins (including toxic people) from your life!

 

 

Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW, AASECT, is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, author, national speaker, columnist and national radio and television expert guest. Beatty has been an expert guest in national television and radio for over 25 years and continues to offer her unique charismatic brand of positive energy and psychological analysis and commentary -- bypassing the usual trite psycho-babble and often politically correct blandness that dominates the mass media.

Beatty is co-author of For Better, For Worse, Forever: Discover the Path to Lasting Love, and host of ASK BEATTY, live every Monday night on the Progressive Radio Network. She has a private practice in New York City, East Hampton and Sarasota, Florida.

Visit Beatty at: www.Beattycohan.com

Or email at: BeattyCohan.msw@gmail.com

Beatty Cohan

Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW, AASECT, is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, author, national speaker, columnist and national radio and television expert guest. Beatty has been an expert guest in national television and radio for over 25 years and continues to offer her unique charismatic brand of positive energy and psychological analysis and commentary -- bypassing the usual trite psycho-babble and often politically correct blandness that dominates the mass media. Beatty is co-author of For Better, For Worse, Forever: Discover the Path to Lasting Love, and host of ASK BEATTY, live every Monday night on the Progressive Radio Network. She has a private practice in New York City, East Hampton and Sarasota, Florida. Visit Beatty at: www.Beattycohan.com Or email at: BeattyCohan.msw@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.