Money and Mental Health

The World Mental Health day falls on 10th October each year. It is a meaningful month to create awareness  of mental health and well-being.

I was invited by Affin Hwang Capital last month to share about money and mental health.

A survey was done in America in 2014, asking children age five to ten about what they would like to be when they grow up.  Most of the children said they ” just want to be rich”. This was followed by the number two desire which is to be famous.

So, does money truly make us happy?

Let me share some light in the following article.

Click here for the article : Wild Ride in Markets Driving You Up The Wall



Simple good pleasures for good mental heath – Part 3

Good Pleasures : Social and Spiritual

Last but no least,  good pleasures can be social or spiritual in nature. Spiritual pleasure or peace of mind may be the most important needs for some of us.


Biologically, a child as young as 2 months old is able to smile at her Mummy when she or he is feeling pleased or well fed. What a beautiful connection between 2 human beings !  At the age of 9 months, the child is able to call “papa” or “mama” with eye contact – at 1 year old, they could wave and say “bye bye”.

So, human beings are essentially relational and we derive much pleasures from meaningful  relationships. What motivates us to connect? It is the pleasure of being loved as well as expressing love and care.

Clinical psychologist and relationship expert, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote the bestseller, The Five Love Languages, which is now a classic. He described the 5 love languages :

  1. Words of affirmation ( encouragement and support )
  2. Physical touch
  3. Spending time ( Making time for people who are special to us )
  4. Thoughtful simple gifts / surprises
  5. Act of service ( being helpful)

With the flourishing cafes all over the world, such as Starbucks, Coffee Bean, etc and in Malaysia, many enjoyed the simple “mamak” shop, it is always good to catch up with family or friends to enjoy a great chat and laughter.

no man is an island

No man is an island, entire of itself ; every man is a piece of the continent.                   

by John Donne



Now, at a deeper level, spiritually, all of us are in search of inner peace, calm and serenity.

Frankly speaking, we cannot be happy all the time. We cannot depend on other people to make us happy. If that happens, we may end up feeling depressed most of the time. But, we can all seek peace for ourselves.

In order to find peace, we need to discover meaning and truth.

We can find meaning, truth and peace when we have found the roadmap / guidebook on living a good life.  Life is like a game of treasure hunt,  searching for the treasures and meaning in life.  So let us not walk alone but as a community  in this game called LIFE.

The fruits of the spiritual journey are plenty. It is peace, love, joy,kindness, thankfulness and contentment.

So, let us enjoy good and healthy pleasures. :)


Pierre Teilhard quote

Simple good pleasures for good mental heath – Part 2

In my previous sharing, I talked about simple good pleasures in physical form such as food, sleep and exercise.

Now, let’s talk about the simple and good psychological ( mental ) pleasures.

What do we mean by “psychological” pleasures?  It simply means good pleasures which feeds upon the mental / mind and emotional well being. Our mind represents our beliefs and thoughts.

walk in the Park

Try to begin each day with a short morning walk around a nearby park. This short walk may helps us to begin our day with a good dose of purpose, meaning and energy.

Good music is certainly food for the mind, emotions and the soul.  It can be soothing, comforting, healing as well as energizing. Music therapy is a well established treatment to relieve stress, reduces anxiety and depression. Music has great potential for healing of the emotions, helps children with autism and improves memory for persons suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I recommend that we keep a list of our favourite tunes and songs in our mobile phones so that it is easily accessible when we need an uplifting of the soul!


Laughter is the best medicine 🙂.   I think this phrase sums it all. So, please do not take yourself too seriously.


Next on the list of good simple psychological pleasures is self expression.  Self expression comes in many forms.  It can simply means writing our thoughts and feelings on a piece of paper, drawing, sketching, doodling, singing or dancing.

van gogh

Self expression is the key to mental health.

Human beings are essentially highly creative and social beings. We need avenues to communicate our ideas, thoughts and feelings. We either do it verbally or non-verbally. Have you ever notice a child who has created a completed art or craft work?  A healthy child will be extremely eager to share the creative work with his or her parents, teachers or friends. They want to communicate the pride and joy of their work. Similarly, when a child is in pain or distress, what is their first reaction? They cry freely, communicate their sorrow to any concerned individuals and seek comfort to ease their pain. So, let us learn to communicate our feelings.


Take time for recreation and play.  Even adults needs moments of fun and distractions from our daily responsibilities and make time to play.


Courtesy of


Last but not least, take time to nurture someone or something.  It could be a nurturing a child or even ourselves. It could also be helping the less fortunate.  Taking care of pets or managing a garden patch is great too. We can self-nurture by talking to our mentors, reading good books or listen to good talks such as those found in TED talks.  Observing the growth and development of a child or a garden of greens and flowers provides meaning and satisfactions which is priceless.

That’s all for now. We shall talk about good healthy social and spiritual pleasure on my future postings.

Enjoy good pleasures!

Dr. Vincent

Simple good pleasures for good mental heath.

Some time ago, I had written about the rules of pleasure. Today I shall focus on simple good pleasures in life which nourishes and fulfills the mind (mental), body and soul.

Why simple pleasures? Because good healthy pleasures do not need to be complicated by massive planning or expensive trips. Just keep it simple and spontaneous.

During the recent Chinese New Year, I introduced a good-old card games which I played during my childhood days called gin rummy ( a two-player card game created in 1909). My kids learned and love it instantly and we had a great time!

I shall categorized simple pleasures into :

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Social / Educational
  • Spiritual

Let’s begin with physical simple pleasures.


  1. Eating well
  2. Good sleep
  3. Exercise


Eating simple non expensive food is a good start.cendol



In Malaysia, on a warm sunny day, we can enjoy a bowl of yummy ice “cendol( cendol is an iced sweet dessert that contains droplets of worm-like green rice flour jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup). A month ago, I discovered a mamak shop which makes really crispy “roti canai”( Indian-style flatbread ) and “thosai” ( Indian pancake ).




mee mamak



One of my favourite is a nice plate of “mee mamak” with a good book.

The list can go on and on since Malaysia is a food haven and you can easily source more simple nice food from food bloggers.





A good sleep is certainly a simple daily pleasures.  Since many come to see me for insomnia which could occur for days, weeks, months or even years, I must say that good sleep is very precious. A good, uninterrupted sleep is absolute enjoyable and help us to feel refreshed for our mission and adventures for the next day.




Last but not least is exercise, be it alone, with an exercise partner or competitive games such as tennis,badminton, golf etc. My favourite simple pleasures is to go for short hiking trips with my family. I would search for hiking spots. My recent hiking spot was “Gunung Jasar” ( Jasar Mountain) in Cameron Highlands. The view and weather was absolutely awesome.




Physical good simple pleasures nourishes and recharges our body so that our body can move as fast as a fully charged Tesla engine!


In my next article, I will share about  simple psychological/mental pleasures which nourishes the mind and the emotions.


Dr. Vincent


Exercise prevents depression and cancer

Today, I am going to write about exercise.

At least 2 recent studies has proven that exercise can prevent cancer and depression.

More importantly, the research has found that routine exercise does not necessarily need to be strenuous or high intensity.  Simple exercise such as taking a walk for only an hour a week  can reduce the risk of depression. This means that even 10 minutes daily walk for a week is great for mental health.

So,  everyone can exercise for a healthier mind and body.

Dr. Matthew Hotopf, PhD, director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Center at Kings College London,  United Kingdom, said that “regular, small amounts of enjoyable exercise helps to prevent depression. We don’t have to run a marathon,”

“Exercise is good medicine for depression, even when the ‘pill’ is small,” said Dr Hallgren, PhD, a researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.



How about the benefits of walking to prevent cancer?

Walking is the most common type of physical activity performed by Americans and has been linked to lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, and breast and colon cancers.

“A lot of people find it daunting to start an exercise regimen. They think they have to start jogging or doing something intense,” said Dr. Patel, PhD, a researcher at the American Cancer Society. “There is a tremendous health benefit to simply going out for a walk.”

“Clearly, the more you walk the better. But doing any walking is better than doing none. Being completely inactive is the worst,” said Dr Patel who reviewed data on more than 62,000 men and 77,000 women enrolled in the Cancer Prevention Study in USA.


So folks,  the data on simple exercise such as walking is absolutely overwhelming and hence it is not only life saving but great for emotional well being.

Just keep it simple and go slow and steady. So, what are we waiting for? NOW IS THE TIME!


Reference : Medscape Medical News


Dr Vincent


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