As mental health and self care has become a more accessible topic outside of counseling and therapy, it occured to me that, all too often, many of us wait until we are unwell or in crisis mode before we’re forced to take better care of ourselves.
It’s similar to making a home out of matchsticks and waiting until a spark fans them into flame and calling the fire department rather than fireproofing the home. Emotional health becomes a matter of damage control rather than personal investment.
It feels like there’s no shortage of investment, retirement, and finance columns. Especially in America, our awareness of financial health is top notch. So, today, I would like to invest in the topic of our emotional banks and how we can personally invest in them.
The Emotional Bank of *insert your name here* is unique to you. Just like a money bank, you can make deposits and withdrawals. The withdrawals are usually caused by the usual suspects: stress, anxiety, emotional burdens, worry, etc.
Deposits, on the other hand, are less clear. As previously mentioned, most of us go the damage control route which is more similar to putting out the flames once your bank catches fire rather than investing. Deposits come from conscious decisions to invest in areas of our life that keep our emotional bank (here meaning feelings of contentment, joy, and peace) nice and full.
These areas include:
Work - Does the place you work at/the kind of work you do provide any satisfaction?
Relationships - Do the people you spend time with energize or drain you?
Purpose - Are you able to give back in a way that makes you feel like you are making a difference in the lives of others? That you are fulfilling a calling that you feel compelled to fill?
Passion - May overlap with purpose. Does your week consist of doing an activity that fills an essential need rooted in a talent or gifting?
Having Fun - Do you find time to laugh, enjoy, and appreciate the daily things in your life? Do make time to experience joy?
Each of these categories is worth 2 points each for a total of 10 possible points.
Give yourself 2 points if you feel at least 80% satisfied with how a given area of your life is going.
Give yourself 1 point if you feel 50% or below.
And give yourself 0 points if you don't feel this area of your life is satisfied at all.
Tally up your points with the categories on a sheet of paper. How did you do? Is there any area of your life you have not invested in that would improve your quality of life? What small way can you begin to invest in those areas and get greater life satisfaction?
It's perfectly okay if you can't answer this right away. It's wonderful progress already to be able to take stock of how we are living our lives so we can be conscious of how we are spending the precious God-given time we gave left on this lovely albeit messy planet.
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