What is Mental Wealth - Finally, a Useful Definition
You've probably heard the phrase "mental wealth," but you may not know what it means.
And to be honest with you, I wasn't entirely sure myself.
A quick search on the Internet left much to be desired.
Is it a cutesy phrase that means nothing, or is it something more powerful?
In this issue, you'll walk away with a new framework for understanding mental wealth--and how you can use it to reshape your mental health.
What is Mental Wealth? Discovering a Mental Wealth Framework
When trying to understand a murky concept, the obvious approach is to start with the two words themselves: "mental" and "wealth."
Mental, to me, has to do with thoughts. With ideas. With the states of mind we find ourselves in.
Wealth, on the other hand, is clearly a financial term. It's a loaded concept in its own right. We all have different relationships with money, and those relationships affect how we feel.
The reason I provide this background is because we give meaning to the world around us. Meaning-making is a process that never ends, and this process includes the meaning we give to words.
When you look a phrase like, "mental wealth," you either see nothing, or you see something with great potential.
I see the latter.
Mental Wealth is Asset-Based
And here we are with another word that can mean different things to different people: "asset."
Just so we're speaking the same language, asset in this sense means something that, if cared for responsibly, goes up in value.
It's not just a monetary thing. It's anything you love and care for.
So, with this definition in mind, a house could be an asset. Or a car. Or a donkey. But most people don't have donkeys, so let's get back you back on track here.
Your mind is in asset. Your heart is in asset. Your mental emotional states? They, too, are assets.
If you're a religious or spiritual person, your connection with something greater could also be considered an asset.
You get the point.
It doesn't matter so much what you call an asset in your life. What matters is how you think about the things that you define--and how those things come to be part of who you are.
Because mental wealth is not just a bank.
It's not putting in deposits and taking out cash when you need. Considered in a purely transactional way would imply that you and I are robotic, that we are akin to those cool, tubey things that shoot your money back and forth at the teller window of said bank.
But mental wealth is so much more than that.
It's the idea that who you are is a learning and growing thing.
The more good ideas you attach to yourself, the more your mind can take in and expand.
The more good food you put in your body, the more you increase the odds that you'll feel well enough to take on bigger and better things.
You are an accumulation of all that you care about and all that you do.
That which gloms on to your being is that which you let into your life.
And much like an investment portfolio to obtain financial wealth, you must diversify if you are to build wealth in who you are as a human.
You wouldn't just put all your money into risky ideas like a building project you've never heard of in Kazakhstan.
And so you shouldn't put all your time into something that leaves you unsteady and on shaky ground.
To diversify is to seriously consider all that you let into your life, all that you focus on, and all that you love and care for.
It's to live with intention, seriously selecting what you want to grow and what you want to leave behind.
In Closing - How to Become Mentally Wealthy
You now have enough information to know that mental wealth is not just a simple, cutesy idea. It's not just a bank deposit.
Talking about mental health in those simple terms misses the mark in a number of ways and leads to meaningless phrases like "Mental health is mental wealth!!! :^)
Mental wealth only becomes valuable when you consider it as a framework.
To summarize the Mental Wealth Framework:
- Mental wealth is asset-based
- You're already familiar with other assets, and you can improve the way you understand your mental health by considering your mental health assets
- You always have the ability to appreciate in value
- You appreciate in value by loving and caring for a diverse set of pursuits in your life
Your homework is this.
Review this list and think about how the statements apply to you.
Stop and apply this framework when you're thinking about your mental health.
You are not just one thing.
You are not just good or bad.
You're not just numbers in a bank account.
Mental wealth may have a "financial" term in it, but you know better.
You know that you give meaning to words.
And you know that you give meaning by building wealth in your life.