- Quality of Life & Wellness
Invest In the Bank Of You
What Is The Bank Of You?
Think about the typical bank account where you keep your money. You make deposits into that account when you can and you make withdrawals when you need to. You may even earn a little interest or make some investments that help build up your account. We all have accounts like this, so they're easy to envision.
Now, think about your life being like a bank account – the Bank of You. There are things that you do that add to your life – deposits. There are also things that you do that take away from your life – withdrawals. Some of the things you do provide longer-term benefits to your life – interest and investments.
This article talks about some of the ways we make these transactions with the Bank of You and what the results can be.
- Deposits -
There are many ways to make deposits into the Bank of You. These deposits can help you physically and mentally. These are just a few examples.
Regular exercise is a great way to build up your account. Cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging, biking, and swimming, strengthens your heart and lungs and increases your endurance. Strength training keeps your muscles strong. Stretching helps you stay flexible. Exercise also helps reduce stress, control body weight, and improve your self image.
All of these things are big additions to your account. They give your account balance a good boost, which is needed as a cushion against withdrawals caused by age, injury, or illness.
Good Money Habits
Spending well within your means is another important way to make deposits to the Bank of You. Good money habits, which includes saving and investing, can give you flexibility. Rather than being totally dependent on a job you don't like, you'd have savings that could allow you to take a chance on a new job, a new career, or a new location.
These positive habits can also help you be prepared to do things that are important to your life, such as travel or a comfortable retirement, rather than things that only give short-term satisfaction, such as the latest electronic gizmo.
Good deeds can also add to your Bank of You account. Helping others very often helps you feel better about yourself as a person and as a citizen of the world. People who have been helped by someone like you, sometimes feel the urge to help others in turn.
All of this can help your self-esteem, positively influence the people around you, and help gain or increase the respect of your peers and community.
People who have a positive outlook are able to see the good in people and situations even when its presence may not be immediately obvious. Instead of complaining about a rainy day, they see that the rain helps the garden grow. Instead of complaining about work, they're happy to have a job. Instead of complaining about prices in the grocery store, they're grateful for the variety and quality of the food that's available.
How does a positive outlook add to the balance in your BoY account?
- Having a positive outlook helps reduce stress, which has potential health benefits.
- Positive people tend to have more friends, who are, in turn, also positive people.
- Positive people tend to have more confidence.
- Positive people are generally happier.
It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.— Dalai Lama
Education is more than a deposit – it's an investment in your future. There are many ways that education adds to your Bank of You account:
- Better educated people tend to be more interesting and interested.
- Education provides skills that are valued by businesses.
- More educated people make better citizens.
- Knowledgeable people are generally more respected by their peers and community.
- Educated people are better equipped to be good role models.
When most people think of “education”, they automatically think of college. However, formal schooling is only one of many sources of knowledge. There are other ways to gain knowledge that don't involve the expense and structure of formal classroom instruction.
Some examples of these other methods include:
- Life experience
The last example – life experience – is a major source of knowledge. Being alive and aware for 30, 40, 50+ years can teach you many things that 4 years sitting in a classroom cannot.
Studies have shown that having a network of friends has several physical and mental health benefits that can add to your Bank of You account. Some of these include:
- Increased sense of belonging and purpose.
- Reduced stress.
- Improved blood pressure.
- Reduction in loneliness.
- Withdrawals -
Withdrawing from the Bank of You is unavoidable. There are some things that are out of your control, but there are other things that you can have great influence over. You want to make these withdrawals as slowly as you can. At the very least, be aware that you are withdrawing.
We all get older. By itself, this is a slow, regular, expected withdrawal from the Bank of You. This is one thing that we can't help. However, the choices we make can slow down or accelerate the effects of aging.
Which poor health choice is your top concern?
Poor Health Choices
The choices we make regarding our health can slow down or accelerate our withdrawals from the Bank of You. Most of us don't consciously choose to mistreat ourselves, but but our choices sometimes have that effect. Some common bad health choices that draw down our accounts include:
- Lack of exercise – Not getting enough exercise leads to bodies that don't have the strength, endurance, and flexibility needed to easily handle daily life. As muscles atrophy, lung capacity decreases, and joints stiffen up, you'll feel like you're aging much faster than the calendar says.
- Overweight – Carrying excessive weight strains many of your body's systems. The extra strain on your joints causes pain. Blood pressure and cholesterol counts become a problem. Breathing and flexibility also suffer. All of these things withdraw from your Bank of You account.
- Lack of sleep – Sleep plays an important role in life. Without adequate sleep, people become irritable, have impaired judgement and cognitive abilities, have poor reaction time, reduced short-term memory, become more susceptible to depression, and have a weakened immune system.
- Substance abuse – Many people choose to self-medicate their problems away with drugs, alcohol, or other substances. This can cause health, legal, and relationship problems and doesn't even solve the problems.
Food is the most widely abused anti-anxiety drug in America, and exercise is the most potent and underutilized antidepressant.— Bill Phillips, author
People who have a poor outlook on life are often depressed. Depression can affect all aspects of life including physical and mental health, relationships, job opportunities, and more. Even worse, if you always have a poor outlook on life, you're missing out on the many joys that are available all around you.
Some people are clinically depressed. There are chemical imbalances that cause their condition. Other people naturally gravitate towards seeing problems rather than opportunities – the glass is always half empty.
A bad outlook on life is a constant drain on your BoY account. It's like an automatic payment you forgot to cancel. If you are clinically depressed, medical intervention may be required to help change this. For other people, a conscious shift in attitude may help break you out of this mode of thinking.
Monetary debt can also reduce the balance of your Bank of You account in a number of ways.
- Reduced opportunities – If you're in debt, you're committed to a certain level of pay to meet your obligations and can't chance any changes that might put that at risk.
- Reduced morale – It's hard to feel good about yourself and your situation if all your effort goes toward debt payments with no end in sight.
- Increased stress – Difficulty meeting the current and future needs of your family is very stressful. So is receiving calls from debt collectors.
The actions you take today, both good and bad, have a long-term impact on the quality and duration of your life. Every so often, perform an audit of the Bank of You. Determine if you're making deposits and investments or if you're squandering your account. Use this information to make any changes you might need for your future. The sooner you make these changes, the more time you'll have to improve your account balance.
© 2015 Ron Bergeron