Why financial wellness is important to your health, according to Deepak Chopra
If you’re worrying about money, you’re not alone. Finances are often cited as the No. 1 cause of stress
Yet, that anxiety may be doing more than keeping you up at night. It is also likely affecting your overall well-being.
“If you’re stressed about your finances, of course that’s going to cause your blood pressure to go up and put you at risk for so many diseases,” said health and wellness guru Deepak Chopra, co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing
and founder of The Chopra Foundation
A number of illnesses — such as migraines
, digestive problems
and heart disease
— have been associated with stress.
People who are financially secure spend money on experiences, not necessarily on products.
The good news is that there are things you can do — both with your finances and to get your stress under control, according to Chopra, a New York Times best-selling author whose books include “Perfect Health” and his latest, “Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential
Live within your means
Americans owe more than $4 trillion in consumer debt as of July 2019, according to the Federal Reserve
The use of credit cards is also rising among young adults — 52% of those in their 20s now have credit cards, compared to 41% in 2012, data from the New York Fed show
However, to be financially well, you should live within your means, Chopra said.
Those who are financially secure “usually don’t spend money that they haven’t earned, to buy things that they don’t need, to impress people that they don’t like,” he said.
While every financial expert advises saving money
, including for emergencies and retirement, it may be easier said than done.
In fact, 28% of Americans have no emergency savings, a July survey from personal financial website Bankrate.com
When it comes to retirement, 26% of non-retirees say they have nothing saved, according to the Fed.
However, saving is crucial to your financial health.
“I have also seen in my life that in cultures where people save 10% of their monthly salary and put it in reasonably low-risk investments, in the long term they do much better,” Chopra said.
Financial security is more than just money in the bank or in investments. It also means protecting yourself with insurance in case you are disabled or get sick, Chopra said.
You may get health insurance through your employer
or you can purchase it through the health-care exchanges made available through the Affordable Care Act.
Disability insurance is also important: One in 4 adults will become disabled at some point before they reach retirement age, according to the Social Security Administration
. There are both short- and long-term plans, which may also be offered through your employer.
If you are buying any insurance on your own, be sure to do your homework and shop around for the best plans that work for you.
Spend on experiences
Being financially healthy doesn’t mean you can’t spend money.
However, Chopra suggests laying out cash on things like restaurants and vacations, rather than on physical objects.
“People who are financially secure spend money on experiences, not necessarily on products … particularly experiences that enhance your social well-being and physical well-being,” he said.
The best way to address your stress is to meditate,
according to Chopra.
It decreases blood pressure, hypertension and insomnia — as well as reduces the production of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, he notes.
Deepak Chopra leads a meditation in Telluride, Colorado.
Courtesy: Deepak Chopra
Chopra has also advised to stop multitasking. Instead, focus on one thing at a time.
If you find you are starting to go down the stress rabbit hole, then stop what you are doing, take a few deep breaths, observe the sensations in your body and smile, and then proceed with awareness and compassion, he wrote on The Chopra Center website
By increasing your joy, you’ll be less likely to get caught up in any of the ups and downs of the stock market, Chopra said.
To do that, there are a few things in particular you should focus on: pay attention to people, show appreciation and tell others you care about them.
“That’s the fastest way to be happy — to make other people happy,” he said.