Money is a constant presence in our lives. Almost every major decision we make can be tied to a financial impact. Because of this, it can be a major stressor that is made worse when we don’t have an understanding of our habits. This is where mindfulness comes in. When people think about mindfulness they often think about meditation, breathing techniques and quiet alone time, but did you know you can also practice mindfulness about money?
According to Spencer Sherman, a financial advisor and author with a mindfulness-based financial practice, when we are worried or confused aboutmoney, we are physically ungrounded. By making space for thoughts and feelings surrounding money, we confront them instead of avoiding them and ultimately change our relationship with money.
Sherman has created a simple money mindfulness practice consisting of three steps:
1. When you have a money thought, notice the associated feeling that resides in your body. Where is it? What is the feeling? Get clear and intimate and really pay attention.
2. Allow any feelings that arise simply to be and welcome those feelings through your entire body. What are these feelings trying to communicate to you?
3. After listening to those feelings, say some phrases of loving-kindness to yourself. For example, you might say: I love you, you’re going to get through this, you’re bigger than your money.
The practice is simple, but it’s not always easy. There are many topics we consider when thinking about our financial well-being and each brings its own emotions and obstacles.
TOPICS TO CONSIDER:
Debt can be a source of stress and shame and often triggers a negative connotation. When we acknowledge how we feel about debt, we can start to change our beliefs and our practices. A simple way to do this is to accompany paying down debt with giving to those in need and saving for yourself. This can be a small amount but the practice allows you to see yourself as more than a debtor.
Be aware of the hard work you are putting in to receive your paycheck. You provide value to your employer and your coworkers. Evaluate how you feel about the level of appreciation from your employer. Maybe you
don’t feel appreciated at your job
or you don’t feel like you are fairly compensated. By paying attention
to your compensation and your feelings about your work, you may be prompted to make some decisions about your employment and how you are earning money.
Think about the purchases you have made in the past year and how you feel about those decisions. Are you satisfied, remorseful or indifferent? Are you spending money in search of happiness or to ignore some deeper feelings? Ask yourself if how you are spending money brings you joy and try practicing gratitude for the things you already have.
Money underscores most of what we do in life. However, by engaging in mindfulness and focusing on the feelings associated with money, we gain freedom from the stressor and make changes that positively impact our daily lives.