What Is "Emotional Wealth"? Here's Why Experts Say You Should Chase Fulfillment, Not Cash
I'm pretty much an expert at finding great deals and saving money. Whether it's preloading coupons onto my grocery store app or keeping an eye out for flash sales online, I'm always looking for opportunities to leave a little extra cash in my bank account. So while I'm clearly far from rich monetarily speaking, I do feel emotionally wealthy, because I have an incredibly supportive squad full of friends who are all just trying to make it through the week with me, one step at a time. So what exactly is "emotional wealth," and how can you go about achieving it yourself?
According to Carol Tuttle, CEO of Live Your Truth, LLC and author of the upcoming book Mastering Affluence: 6 Lessons to Create a Life You Love, emotional wealth is all about establishing a "deep-rooted sense of peace and joy" in your everyday life, without relying on financial means to bring you that joy.
And look, nobody's claiming that money is useless, or that it doesn't contribute at all to your happiness. Rather, Tuttle argues that hefty paychecks simply aren't as fulfilling as some of the more emotionally charged experiences you have in life, like the first time you meet a lifelong friend, or the moment you find out your sibling is going to have a baby. "Financial wealth offers a security in the material world," Tuttle tells Elite Daily over email, "yet if you do not have emotional wealth — a deep sense of personal purpose and well-being — you are robbed of the opportunity to fully enjoy material wealth."
In other words, financial security is obviously important to a certain extent, but as Dr. Sherrie Campbell, a psychologist and author of the book Success Equations: A Path to Living an Emotionally Wealthy Life, points out, even the people who you'd probably consider to be the wealthiest in society — actors, professional athletes, pop stars, etc. — can struggle with depression and unhappiness, despite their financial status. In fact, Kendrick Lamar hit the nail on the head on this topic back in 2013 when he spoke to Interview Magazine:
I always thought money was something just to make me happy. But I’ve learned that I feel better being able to help my folks, ’cause we never had nothing. So just to see them excited about my career is more of a blessing than me actually having it for myself.
So clearly, monetary wealth isn't the one and only key to true joy. "There has to be something deeper and more meaningful for us to be emotionally wealthy," Dr. Campbell tells Elite Daily over email, and according to her, emotional wealth (which she says can definitely include financial wealth, even if that's not the focus) is about prioritizing family, love, health, and success. That's kind of easier said than done though, right? So how can you switch your mindset to chase love and a sense of purpose in life, instead of cash and extra zeroes in your bank account?
For starters, Dr. Campbell suggests, try embracing contentment: "Focus on what you have, rather than on what you have not yet gained," she tells Elite Daily. A great way to do this is with a gratitude list: Find time in your day to sit down and do nothing more than write down and/or think about the things in your life that you're grateful for, whether it's something trivial, like the many delicious flavors of La Croix that are available to us all, or something a bit deeper, like the BFF who still calls you once a week even though she recently moved 3,000 miles away.
According to Tuttle, wherever you focus the majority of your attention in life is going to have a huge impact on how you live and how you feel. So, much like Campbell's suggestion, Tuttle recommends focusing on what's going well in your life and appreciating both the big and little things, rather than getting caught up in the negatives. And seriously, in practice, this can be as simple as feeling pumped about the new flavor of chips in your office's snack collection. Not every day is going to bring about the most transformative and life-altering examples of emotional wealth, but Tuttle says that in the long-term, a mindful shift like this, in which you embrace all of the positive aspects of your day-to-day experiences, can definitely help to boost your overall happiness.
Now, especially in today's fractured political climate, it can sometimes be incredibly difficult to find those little slivers of positivity and build on your emotional wealth. This is why Tuttle suggests disconnecting from the news cycle from time to time; you can (and should) still stay informed, of course, but you owe it to yourself and your emotional well-being to take a step back whenever things feel too overwhelming.
So in those moments when it feels like every single news story you scroll past on Twitter is deeply distressing, put your phone down for a little bit and "start partaking in activities that bring you peace, challenge, and happiness," Dr. Campbell tells Elite Daily. This will likely look different from person to person, but whether you're going for a mind-clearing run around the block or snuggling up on the couch with your latest good read, purposefully devoting your time to rituals that enhance your joy will help to build up your emotional wealth, Campbell says.
And once you've built up your emotional bank account, so to speak? "You will be self-aware, able to wait, able to love, give, and to take care of yourself," Dr. Campbell tells Elite Daily. Personally, I'd take those perks over a coupon for free hand soap any day.