Economic Health: A Holistic Perspective
By Beatriz Martinez
reviewed by Amadou Barrow
SolaVieve delivers health and wellness through our holistic and integrated six areas of health: mental, physical, spiritual, social, environmental, and economic dimensions. Optimal economic health, including job security, a supportive work environment, and fair financial compensation, is associated with increased workplace productivity resulting in higher earnings and savings, fewer medical expenses, and longer life expectancy. Healthy lifestyle choices increase the likelihood of a long and healthy life, which in return improves one’s financial situation.
Millennials are more stressed about money than older generations are. According to a 2015 study, 75% of millennials believe that money is a stressful source, and 60% of millennials reported being economically unfit to the Bank of America. In some cases, people are even putting their healthcare needs on hold because of financial concerns.
Financial concerns take on greater importance if we consider that sociological research data indicate that in most cultures, economic status and employment are two of the four factors which strongly predict happiness and overall wellbeing, along with physical health and family relationships.
This series of articles connects the six dimensions of holistic health to understand how prevention through lifestyle and empowerment can improve our overall wellness.
What is economic health?
Economic health refers to managing one’s financial and professional life to increase security and reduce stress. It includes different dimensions of our wellness, such as our income, savings, expenses, or debts, among others. Economic wellbeing can be accomplished by having control of our financial resources and being able to recover from unexpected financial difficulties or unforeseen expenses. Optimal economic health allows us to make our own decisions related to our health and personal enjoyment, and being able to handle situations that are out of our control. Economic health is dynamic, as personal financial situations can be in almost constant transition.
What are the benefits of optimal economic health?
- Greater productivity and positive self-efficacy;
- Increased engagement;
- Decreased levels of financial stress;
- Better and healthier relationships;
- Freedom to make choices;
- Resilience and optimism.
What are the key components of economic health?
- Financial compensation: It allows us to meet our basic needs, such as food, housing, healthcare, and education, as well as our desires, such as traveling. Decreasing the levels of stress and anxiety that financial worries can cause is immensely valuable to our health. Likewise, being able to achieve the education level we want is an important aspect that contributes to our economic health. Additionally, being aware of behavior patterns we can adopt to avoid negative consequences of unavoidable financial stress will positively affect our economic health.
- Job security: Having stable employment and a secure income has a positive effect on our overall health. The personal security a stable job provides is very positive for our wellness, where we no longer find ourselves wondering how we will pay our bills every month. For some people, stability is not the priority. Instead, they aim to take risks to improve their professional career while making sure that the risk is calculated and under control, as can be the case of entrepreneurs. Financially healthy workers can experience higher productivity, and decrease absenteeism and health expenditures. Also, when companies collaborate in the wellbeing of their employees, they can decrease the rates of injuries and illness, as well as increase retention, commitment, and employee morale.
- Supportive work environment: Feeling supported in one’s work environment increases employee engagement and creates a high-performance culture that encourages innovation and creativity. Organizations which are known as a good place to work are more likely to attract and retain professionals, with better outcomes and staff wellbeing, and a safe environment. A supportive work environment encourages employees to achieve a work-life balance, allowing for healthier lifestyles.
How does economic health connect with the other dimensions of holistic wellness?
- Mental: Our economic situation influences our mental health, as money worries can generate stress, frustration, and discomfort. Dealing with monetary issues can be mentally exhausting and energy-draining, making it difficult for people to perform optimally. On the other hand, if we’re content with our economic status, stress and worries can be avoided. Then, when we feel motivated and empowered to achieve our goals, it’s more likely that our productivity increases, leading to better economic health.
- Physical: Personal finances can negatively affect health because, for example, overdue medical debt can lead to delayed or inadequate treatment and resulting anxiety. Being able to financially invest in our physical health like, for example, getting a gym membership, purchasing healthy foods, or having consultations with health specialists when needed, will positively affect our physical health, allowing us to embrace preventive lifestyles and reducing the consequences of diseases. In addition, physical health can also have a positive effect on our levels of productivity, as it increases our energy and motivation levels, and may lead to the possibility of being promoted. Some studies also showed that people in poor physical health had the highest financial stress level and those in very good physical health had the lowest level of financial stress.
- Spiritual: When you achieve optimal economic health, you can find the motivation and resources to pursue other meaningful goals. A stable and healthy economic status can allow you to focus on finding meaning and purpose in your life. Therefore, doing what fulfills you can increase your productivity and provide satisfaction for both your career and your personal life.
- Social: Practicing a healthy lifestyle and engaging in financially responsible behavior is fundamental to individual wellbeing, and it can also provide benefits to the community and the governments, in terms of increasing productivity and minimizing the direct costs on the health public system. This allows communities to invest funds into their neighbors, building happy and satisfied communities. Also, financial stress appears to affect social relationships as well — studies show that 41% of adults in a stable relationship say that they lost patience with their partner due to stress in the past month. This also affects work relationships as, for example, 18% of employees said that they snapped at or were short with a coworker due to financial stress.
- Environmental: Conscious consumption can have a positive effect on your economic health while improving your environmental health. Mindful consumption will help you avoid drained bank accounts and excessive waste, and it can lead to a more sustainable economy. Moderation can be the key to creating a balance between want vs. need. Being aware of what you are consuming and why can lead you to increased economic health and can be of great benefit to the environment, reducing greenhouse gases, air pollution, and improving neighborhoods, living standards, and public health.
SolaVieve is dedicated to making a difference in your overall health and wellbeing. We invite you to explore your economic dimension by finding out what works best for you, building on your potential, and continuing your holistic journey with us.
I am a journalist specialised in international relations, and writing is my absolute passion. I translate my knowledge and feelings into words, a process that has become my profession and at the same time my personal healing practice. I believe that being curious about what surrounds us is the key to educating ourselves and to further being able to express it to others. I love reading and am mostly interested in politics, human rights, social movements, and the passionate world of health.
My areas of expertise center around climate change and global health; Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH); environmental and occupational health; health education and promotion; and health risk communications. I have experience as a lecturer at both university level in the area of health psychology, health education & promotion, water supply & sanitation, biostatistics, epidemiology and research methodology. I have published several scientific manuscripts in various reputable journals on maternal & child health morbidities and mortalities in LMIC settings. I am a passionate digital health enthusiast with a special focus on holistic wellbeing at all levels.
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