Health and wealth are similar in a few ways, but much different in others. Both, if neglected, can cause you pain. If put into balance, however, you might find great joy in the way you feel as well as the things you have.
Diet and exercise is cheap, compared to health care costs
If you spend all your time trying to become wealthy, that can mean a lot of things. It either means you work too much or you spend way too much of the money you do manage to earn on things you don’t actually, technically, need.
What many people do not realize is that spending more time ensuring your optimal long term health will benefit you financially, spiritually, occupationally, and so much more in the long run. The less you pay attention to your health, the more likely you are to develop diseases that cost everyone a fortune – and if you neglect your well being long enough, they could even cost you your life. What good is wealth of any kind if you aren’t around to enjoy it?
Health care in the United States is extremely expensive over a person’s lifetime compared to a weekly grocery budget consisting of whole foods and cooking ingredients and/or a yearly gym membership or the cost of home exercise equipment. Not taking care of yourself can lead to chronic conditions that can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to treat. Prevention in this case is the least expensive option, and the healthier you are, the more money and time you can spend doing other meaningful things.
Your mental health also matters
Put simply, no matter how much you might be tempted to, you cannot spend all your time working. The paychecks may seem worth it right now, especially if hard work in your case comes with the promise of even larger paychecks in the near to distant future.
But if you are convinced that a paycheck is more important than maintaining relationships with family and friends, or spending time outdoors in the summertime, or sitting down to a decent meal every once in awhile, you are in for an extremely rude awakening when you least expect it. And you won’t expect it at all – because you will be too busy working to notice your health is in danger.
Did you know working too much can seriously damage your mental health significantly? Many people don’t know this yet – either that, or they choose not to care. If you neglect people who care about you and isolate yourself just so you can get more work done, or you ignore exercise and good eating, you are much more likely to develop serious depression. And addiction to things like shopping, collecting, even working or browsing the internet themselves are mental health problems that can significantly reduce your quality of life, and you may not even realize it is happening until it is much too late to do anything about it.
The reasons taking care of yourself physically is so good for you mentally are direct and indirect. Directly, working out, spending time with people, eating well and giving yourself frequent breaks when necessary alters your hormone levels for the better, increasing the production of hormones that make you feel happy and decreasing the production of hormones that result from stress and anxiety.
Indirectly, taking care of yourself makes you feel good. When you are constantly burned out, sedentary, hungry and stressed, you aren’t going to feel okay no matter what you do to find a temporary “fix.” Getting out into the world and putting in the effort to treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated reduces stress and motivates you to work for the right reasons, enjoy other people’s company and make better decisions about your career, your money, your possessions and your life as a whole.
No amount of money is worth the misery
The idea that money cannot buy you happiness isn’t exactly true. Money can potentially allow you to purchase things over time that bring you joy. But what good are things that bring you happiness if you are much too sick to enjoy them?
If you have ever felt absolutely miserable before in your life, you know that it can seem as if there is absolutely no way out whatsoever. Stress and anxiety and all other kinds of emotions make it impossible to make even the simplest decisions. You can end up really hurting yourself, as well as the people around you. Money and “things” are not worth feeling like you are in a dark place from which there is no logical escape. It may seem like they are the only things that matter, but they are not.
Do you know what IS worth it, though? Your health. Feeling emotionally, mentally and physically together and okay. Caring for the people around you, who in turn can feel safe and purposeful caring for you in return. Doing things for the sake of doing them, because you enjoy them, not because you are getting paid or because you are going to get something out of it.
Wealth is tricky. The promise of lifetime wealth seems much more appealing than lifetime health. While wealth is very often something tangible – something you can see or touch or hold – health often times isn’t something you can see or hold in your hand. While wealth often comes with instant gratification, health many times does not.
However, it is important to always remember that things we cannot always see are often the most valuable things in our lives. If you give it time and are patient, you will find that your health is actually something you can physically feel. You feel good, you feel strong and you feel nourished, energized and happy. That is not something everyone can say they have felt recently. Your health is the one thing that will remain, fair or poor, when everything else is gone. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your needs. Let yourself feel good. It’s worth every moment.