Money. It doesn’t fall from trees. Yet, if you’re like most people, you want as much money as you can get. At the same time, you probably don’t want more stress and sadly, money is often the root cause of anxiety. In fact, about 72 percent of Americans feel stressed about money at least some of the time, according to an American Psychological Association study released in 2015.
Unfortunately, financial stress – often brought on by poor money habits and mindless spending – won’t go away on its own. But, before you lose sleep over this (and yes, stress over money can lead to depression and sleep deprivation), look on the bright side: You can make mindful changes to get ahead financially. Ready to give it a shot? Take a look at our top 5 mind shifts and lifestyle changes that can help you become financially fit.
1. Practice mindfulness.
We get it. Just because you practice yoga or meditate doesn’t mean you’ll instantly stop overspending. But, by cultivating a yoga or meditation practice, you will become more mindful of your daily habits, including your money habits. Meditation teaches you to calm your mind and achieve more clarity. And, in these quiet spaces, you’ll become more cognizant of your habits – the good, the bad and the ugly. Yoga, in turn, teaches you how to slow down and notice movement in the moment. In essence, yoga is a form of meditation in motion. Even if yoga and meditation don’t resonate with you, there are still other ways to cultivate mindfulness. For example, you can try taking daily walks in nature. According to MindBodyGreen, this will help release stagnant energy from your body and open up space to create healthy money habits.
2. Embrace minimalism.
In order to reduce stress and help you make more mindful money decisions, you may want to give a minimalist lifestyle a shot. Just be sure to do this in a way that won’t cost you money or cause you more stress. A good way to start is to declutter your surroundings before your stuff gets out of control. I recommend going through your apartment or house room by room and separating your stuff into three piles: Keep, donate or sell. The goal is for the donate and sell piles to grow bigger while the keep pile shrinks. For the stuff you plan to sell, you can either have one big yard sale or post the items for sale on an app like Close5, OfferUp or LetGo. I used all three of these apps when I downsized and got rid of more than half my stuff. I also raised more than $2,000 by selling everything from furniture to small appliances to sporting goods. Decluttering takes time and effort but in the end, you may feel lighter and your savings account will hopefully get a much-needed boost.
3. Just say no.
This is a tough one, especially if you’re a spender or thrive on going out with friends. We’re not saying you can’t go out and have fun or splurge on a new pair of shoes every so often. But, when practicing mindful living, you may actually feel ok saying no to some dinner invitations. Instead, you can choose to read a book, go for walk or do something else that doesn’t cost money. It’s also a good idea to say no to your own shopping impulses. Remember: Simplifying your life is a conscious effort but in the end, you will be richer for it.
4. Surround yourself with a conscious community.
While you may be curbing your spending and making new mindful choices, you don’t have to become a recluse. In fact, you can join a healthy dinner group, launch a conscious book club, or even hang out with like-minded people who you know will support you. You can start by reaching out to your friends and family. Don’t be afraid to share your money goals with them even if this feels scary to you. You don’t have to reveal your debts, but you can start by talking about a general goal to save more money. If you believe in yourself, others will likely believe in you too. And, you may even inspire your friends and family to embark on their own financial wellness journeys.
5. Believe you deserve to be financially fit.
This goes hand in hand with our other tips. By practicing mindfulness, you will begin to see where you are in the present moment. You can then take steps to move forward and make changes to your financial situation. In order to do this, it helps to believe in yourself without comparing your money matters to those of others. For starters, try journaling about your daily personal and financial accomplishments for about 15 minutes three times a week. Keep in mind that journaling can stir up negative feelings, but it can also encourage you to confront your fears and move past them, according to mychicagotherapist.com. Once you start to feel better about your daily wins, you can begin to visualize your long-term money goals. With a positive mindset and goals in place, it’s time to put a plan into action. Perhaps step #1 is to open a new bank account that will help you automate your savings. Or, maybe you’ll opt to get a little extra help from a fee-based financial advisor. Whatever you decide to do, remember that you are worthy of a healthy relationship with money.
Are you ready to become financially fit and create abundance in your life? It’s up to you.