How your perception of money affects how you spend it.
In Western society money often equates with a sense of power and self-esteem, so what happens when we lose it all or have little to begin with? We’ve unpacked some of the ways you can look after your mental-health, even when your finances are in flux.
Avoid confusing self-worth with net-worth
Each of us have a unique relationship with money and wealth-building. For some, money may be associated with feelings of guilt, shame or struggle, whereas others may associate it with control, credibility and status.
Spending money may make us feel good in the moment, but it has long-term consequences that can be self-sabotaging. Whenever you feel the urge to splurge, take a moment to be present to what you are feeling and thinking. Becoming conscious of your relationship to money may reveal useful insights that may help you manage it more effectively.
Is money the root of all evil?
Do I feel guilt or shame when spending?
Who, in my opinion, is worthy of wealth and who is not?
How would my own wealth or debt impact my relationships?
Unpacking our associations and relationship with money can help you understand your mental blocks around it. Spending may help us self-sooth or help us feel closer to friends or family. It’s time to examine why we put so much emphasis on a materialistic lifestyle and buying self-esteem and comfort.
Bring yourself back into balance
When our mind ruminates on thoughts that make us anxious, our brain responds in the same way as if there were a threat in our environment. This fight, flight or freeze response can be tricky to navigate, as it’s often known to sabotage our good intentions. Financial challenges can be especially anxiety-producing, which can lead to fluctuating emotions, impulsivity and an instinct to try soothe the uncomfortable feeling. It’s important to deactivate your survival response so that you can become more grounded rather than reactive in your spending habits. Meditation, journaling, exercise and talking to a counsellor or someone you trust can all help regulate stress and emotions.
Re-examine your values & turn your financial burden into a challenge
Challenges often stretch us to achieving incredible things. Pushing us to be creative, resourceful and resilient, ultimately leading to our growth. Ask yourself, what have my financial challenges taught me? How have my challenges contributed to my growth as a human being? Acknowledging our strengths and accomplishments, no matter how small, is an important step towards finding the motivation to overcome future challenges. Another important aspect of resilience and motivation is being able to find a deeper meaning behind our struggles. If you can recognise how your challenges are helping you live according to your values and personal growth, it will become easier to face difficult tasks.
Saving money is an act of self-care
Setting money-saving goals that are too big or too small can result in a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The truth is that an all-or-nothing approach to life is simply not sustainable. A kinder, gentler approach to goal-setting is not only more realistic, it also has a more positive impact on our mood. Reaching small achievable goals each day helps stimulate those feel-good chemicals in the brain that also help increase motivation.
Practice better boundaries
Socialising often beats shopping, but what happens when our relationships require a little too much of us? Perhaps your partner likes to add a little extra to the shopping cart, or your friend keeps adding to the tab. Relationships can cause huge financial strain if proper boundaries have not been established. Either way, there are some strategies you can follow to keep them close whilst maintaining your goals. First, get clear on your goals and make sure to find accountability buddies that can support you. Write a list of do’s and don’ts for spending and verbalise your intentions to family members or partners. Remind them gently about your goals when they begin to push your boundaries. This can be challenging, but you’ll feel better for standing by yourself. Don’t disconnect from your needs in order to connect with someone else.
If you’re ready to create lasting change in your life and finances, we’re just a click away.