How mindfulness can help with financial wellbeing.
For so many of us, the current financial climate is one of challenge. It’s almost impossible to go through a day without hearing the phrase ‘cost of living crisis’ and wondering/ worrying, how this is impacting us. So how can mindfulness help in making the reality of the current situation easier to navigate?
When people think about mindfulness, they often associate it with meditation, yoga, or breathwork. But these are simply some of the practices - the training tools we can use to facilitate mindfulness. Mindfulness is so much more than the practices themselves and can positively impact how we live our day to day lives, including how we manage our finances and think about money. In fact, incorporating mindfulness into our approach to money can help us find greater balance, feel less stressed and achieve financial wellness.
What is mindfulness?
At its core, mindfulness is being aware of how things really are and being present and fully engaged in the moment. It involves consciously paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and our present moment experiences without judgment or distraction. When it comes to money, mindfulness means being fully aware of our financial situation, as it is, whether that’s good or bad and not getting caught up in worries about the past or fears about the future.
Here are some ways that mindfulness can help you achieve financial wellness:
1. Cultivate Awareness: Mindfulness helps you develop awareness around your financial status including spending habits, incomings, outgoings, credit and debt. Now for some of us that might seem a frightening prospect, but with true awareness comes the ability to make more conscious choices about where you allocate your money and how you spend and save it. For example, you may notice patterns in your spending that reveal areas where you can cut back or identify where you may be overspending. You may also notice that you’re not making the most of the money that you have and that it's possible to find ways of making that money work better for you. Mindfulness allows you to be aware - and awareness provides the possibility to change and improve.
2. Make more conscious choices: Mindfulness can help you avoid making impulsive or problematic financial decisions by creating a space between a situation and how you respond to it. It allows you more time to reflect on your choices and to take a moment to pause and consider your thoughts and emotions before making a purchase. When you’re more mindful you may find that you make more considered, rational and intentional spending decisions.
3. Reduce Stress: Financial stress is a common experience for many of us. Mindfulness can help you manage stress related to money by allowing you to focus on the present moment and not get caught up in worries about the past or the future I.e. what can I do now to help my financial wellbeing in the future. When you practice mindfulness, you may find that you are more able to handle financial challenges with a greater sense of calm and clarity. 4. Cultivate Gratitude: Mindfulness can also help you cultivate gratitude for the money you have, rather than constantly striving for more, or can help you focus on what you do have in your life, rather than what you don’t. When you appreciate what you have, you may find that you are more content and relaxed about your financial situation and this will allow you to make more rational and healthy decisions related to your finances.
5. Take action: Accepting that life only happens in the present moment can be liberating and Mindfulness can help you to take action today, rather than endlessly ruminating about what might happen, or what you could/should do and causing yourself unnecessary excess stress.
So, how can you start incorporating mindfulness into your approach to money? Here are a few tips:
1. Set aside time for reflection: Take some time each week to reflect on your financial situation. Ask yourself how you feel about your finances and whether you are making choices that align with your values and goals. Create a spreadsheet or start a notebook to analyse and track your incomings and outgoings and to monitor your spending.
2. Be intentional about your spending: Before making a purchase, take a moment to reflect on why you are making the purchase, whether it's necessary and what this purchase will add to your life. If it is a larger purchase take some days to go away and consider further. This can help you avoid impulsive spending and allow you to make more intentional choices about where you allocate your money.
3. Use mindfulness techniques to manage stress: If you are feeling stressed about money, take a few moments to practice focusing on the breath or to meditate. Meditation helps you feel more centred and calmer, allowing you to approach financial challenges with a clearer mind.
4. Practise gratitude: Take time to appreciate the money you have and the financial opportunities or support that is available to you, no matter how small. Or if times are very challenging and this feels too too difficult, consider what else you can be grateful for in your life that is positive e.g. friends, family, health, love etc and how you can use this attitude of gratitude to foster a more positive or action orientated approach to your finances. This could involve creating a gratitude journal or simply taking a few moments each day to reflect on what you are grateful for.
5. Take action: Once you’re aware of your true financial situation you can take steps today to support yourself for the future, rather than just thinking about it. Keep a notebook or spreadsheet, make contact with services or organisations that can offer you help and advice, research on the internet and cutback on your spending through regular reflection and analysis.
Incorporating mindfulness into your approach to money can help you find balance and achieve financial wellness. By cultivating awareness, avoiding impulsive decisions, reducing stress, practising gratitude and taking action, you can develop a healthier relationship with money and live a more fulfilling financial life.
Melissa is owner and founder of The Kindfulness Effect, providing life-enhancing wellbeing courses, coaching, and workshops for individuals and organizations.
Her journey to Kindfulness began during her recovery from PTSD in 2007, when she discovered the transformative power of mindfulness, positive psychology, and yoga. After spending 15 years working in various management positions in a global company, she completed a degree in psychology and philosophy as well as teacher training in mindfulness, meditation, and yoga - and subsequently created The Kindfulness Effect.
Mindfulness + Kindness + Gratitude = Kindfulness
"My vision is to inspire and empower individuals to lead happier, healthier, and more conscious and fulfilling lives. I aim to create a community of like-minded individuals who embody Kindfulness and create a ripple effect of positivity and compassion, which spreads throughout our communities and beyond." ~ Melissa
The Kindfulness Effect starts with you!
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