Most of us have been stuck in our homes for months at this point, and some of us have been forced to adjust to the growing demands of work and childcare. If that wasn’t bad enough, so many families and businesses are facing financial hardships with no end in sight. Money is one of the leading causes of stress, and it can affect us both physically and emotionally. Back in March, I offered financial tips on how to manage things we can control. In honor of Mental Awareness Month, I wanted to offer some mindfulness practices that can change how we think about money:
- Practice Daily Gratitude: Research suggests that there are numerous benefits of feeling and expressing gratitude, including living a happier life. The simplest way to practice gratitude is to write down three things you’re grateful for each day. Make these things as specific as possible and consider the feelings that these things evoke. You can also practice gratitude by thanking others, both verbally and in written form. Try sending a thank you note once a month to someone you appreciate.
- Release Yourself from the Comparison Trap: You’ve probably heard the saying “Comparison is the thief of joy.” With the presence of social media, we live in a world where everyone is sharing what seems to be perfect moments. Tune out distractions that cause you to compare yourself to others. This could include what you watch, what you read, who you listen to, and those who you surround you. Only compete with yourself, and strive to get better each day. Don’t confuse comparison with emulating the success of those you admire. This can be a motivator.
- Embrace Your Self-Worth over Your Net-Worth: Know that you are so much more than the money you have. Your self-worth includes all the gifts and talents you have to offer the world. Think about what qualities you have that you’re proud of and share those moments with those you love. Think about what makes you successful that doesn’t include money and what makes you truly happy. Make the time to embrace those activities and it will change our mindset.
In addition to the practices above, I find it helpful to ask myself a few questions when I feel the urge to shop. “Do I need this?” “What am I giving up for this?” “What am I avoiding?” If I find that I’m shopping to avoid something, I ask, “What can I do to fill this desire besides spending money?” Being mindful can help us make money decisions that align with our values, and those decisions can help you achieve your goals.
Finally, if you’ve experienced a financial hardship, you may have negotiated temporary loan terms or bill payment arrangements. This article provides valuable advice on how to document these arrangements in order to protect yourself in the future.
Want to discuss how you can find more peace around your finances? Let’s have a conversation!
Chloé A. Moore, CFP®
Founder, Financial Staples