Like any other area in our lives, financial wellness is an interactive process of becoming aware of and embracing healthy choices. It’s about balance. When you have control over your money, you have wellness. When your money controls you, you lose your freedom and independence, and stress sets in. And stress impacts your health, your relationships and your happiness.
Stress is often a direct result of how out-of-control you feel. Regaining control of your relationship with money will help you alleviate stress, and one of the easiest ways to do this is through awareness of the habits, thoughts, feelings and emotions you hold around wealth.
It’s through your ability to understand what you do and why you do it that you can replace limiting beliefs, habits and actions with resourceful ones, and begin the journey towards creating your own definition of financial freedom.
Mindfulness is not likely to be the first word that springs to mind when you think about managing money. However, this skill holds many benefits when it comes to managing your finances in a more clear, intentional and purposeful way.
A mindful money practice requires you to be fully present and aware of what you are thinking, feeling and doing with your money on a moment-by-moment basis. The process begins with observing your inner experience of money.
What are you thinking?
Creating a vision for your money and setting goals for the future is a very important part of money management. Mindfulness encourages you to stay present and focused on your actions towards these bigger visions, stay on track towards your goals, and make necessary adjustments along the way.
It also requires you to become clear on what expectations you have of yourself and others with regard to money, how you define success, and ultimately what wealth means to you personally. Define how much is enough, and what are you grateful for. Becoming aware of all these things helps you to better understand the role of money in your life, and how you can begin to use it in ways that best support you.
What are you feeling?
Fear, greed, shame, anxiety, jealousy, loneliness and, excitement are all emotions that can influence your money decisions and drive good or bad habits when it comes to your finances.
To practise mindfulness with your money requires you to take notice of these emotions, sensations and urges as they are occurring. It’s as simple as stopping to reflect each time you receive or use money, and checking to see how you are feeling. It is in this pause that you can often discover just how much your emotions are impacting your decisions and behaviour - and ultimately your wealth!
What are you doing?
Your habits, actions and behaviours related to money will predict your experience and reality with it. If you spend without thinking, leave bills unopened, ignore your bank or credit card statements, or delay saving, then your money is more likely to control you and cause stress.
Adopting a mindfulness practice is about bringing awareness to these behaviours and choosing to continue those actions which support (rather than detract from) your future wealth.
Aligning thoughts, feelings and actions
One of the simplest ways to introduce awareness to your money practice is to focus on your breath. This simple act of taking a moment to pause can have a very dramatic impact! How? It creates a chance for your emotional brain to catch up with your thinking brain or logic. It is in this pause that you have the power to respond, instead of simply reacting.
Over time, bringing your attention to the way you earn, spend and use money in your daily life will become second nature. And this is one of the simplest ways to start creating a more conscious and healthy relationship with wealth, which in turn will support your financial goals.
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