As the stock market performs its crazy ups and downs, there's one investment that should never be absent from your portfolio, and that's yourself!
The Dow (or Tao) Of You
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is one of those major stock indexes that many investors follow quite closely in order to keep tabs on their investments.
Meanwhile, the ancient Chinese notion of the Tao (meaning "the way" or "the path")) is an "index" of truth, acceptance, and awareness that many Buddhists and spiritual seekers use as a means to achieving fulfillment and peace.
If you're very focused on the Dow, you may also want to consider some manner of also focusing on a universal principle like the Tao, in order to make sure that your own personal and spiritual fulfillment also remain on the front burner of your life.
After all, if money and success remain one of your central areas of focus, is it possible that some other parts of your life may suffer from neglect?
An important aspect of wellness is maintaining awareness of one's own happiness and sense of fulfillment. While a robust investment portfolio may bring some happiness and peace of mind from time to time, ignoring self-care, exercise, relationships, nutrition, spiritual health, and emotional well-being could come back to haunt you over the long haul.
Sure, it's fine to check your portfolio balances every day, but can you also check your personal reserves of happiness, resilience, peace of mind, and fitness at the same time?
Awareness of all quadrants of your life is a truly holistic manner of being in the world. In this particular way of thinking, checking your own personal happiness index should be at least equal in importance to your bank account balances and cash flow, if not moreso.
So, where does your awareness stay mostly focused? Which "accounts" get most of your attention?
Prevention and Cure
In your finances, prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you watch your expenses closely, that preventive awareness can keep you from spending more than you have, and staying comfortably in the black.
Meanwhile, if you're hemorrhaging money and your accounts are running on fumes, then it's time for curative action that will restore your financial health. Prevention is easier than the cure in this case, and personal financial austerity measures may be painful as you cut back on fun things in order to pay for the essentials. The cure is tough, but if the prevention wasn't put in place soon enough, you should have known that it would bite you in the you-know-what eventually.
In terms of your health, it's the same thing. If you exercise, eat right, tend to your relationships, get enough sleep, and maintain your emotional and spiritual health, those preventive measures are worth their weight in gold.
But if you eat poorly, don't check your blood sugars, ignore your doctor or nurse's advice, and eschew all healthy practices in pursuit of momentary pleasures, you'll probably have hell to pay in terms of your health. As a result, your A1c will go up, your hypertension will be out of control, and your weight will skyrocket as your fitness decreases.
You see, prevention is the key to your health and to your finances; they're actually quite similar. Stay aware, take preventive measures, and you won't have to resort to cures that are painful and unpleasant (and mostly unavoidable).
While you may not be able to watch every penny you spend or keep tabs on your emotional well-being perfectly every single day, you can indeed be careful by staying as focused as possible, maintaining as much of that awareness as you possibly can.
Health, like your finances, takes shape over time in a dynamic continuum, and you will reap the rewards of your positive efforts just as you'll suffer the consequences of your inaction or poor choices.
So, invest well in your health and well-being, and do as much as you can to prevent the kinds of melt-downs that can land you in the hospital with preventable diseases, or saddle you with symptoms that you could really do without.
The investment in yourself is priceless and invaluable, so create a health portfolio to be proud of!