By Andrea Lieberstein, MPH, RDN, RYT
Bestselling author of ‘Well Nourished: Mindful Practices to Heal Your Relationship to Food, Feed Your Whole Self and End Overeating’, Instructor at eMindful, Speaker, Trainer, Mindfulness and Mindful Eating Coach
Financial stress touches most of our lives at some point, undermining our sense of well-being and contentment. It can be a huge, ugly monster staring us in the face, reminding us that we don’t have enough to cover every day necessities. Or it can be subtle, contributing to a perpetual undertow, a sense of unease in the background of your life.
Where You Fall
Where do you fall along this spectrum? You may get a monthly paycheck that covers the bills but still doesn’t feel quite enough. Or you may be a new business owner not sure what your income will be next month. You might live comfortably within your means but still worry! Or you may simply ignore this part of life yet have occasional surges of anxiety from not knowing where you stand.
If your relationship with finances is a negative and stressful one, exploring it with curiosity can help you shift into a more clear and resourceful financial relationship. Did you know that our brains are actually wired to focus on the negative, which can lead to a habit of noticing what isn’t enough in our lives? This can also lead to feeling like “I am not enough.” This fear of “not enough” can be a source of stress and lead to a host of unhelpful habits we engage in when we feel financially stressed. These might include worrying about our financial future; ruminating over how we got in our financial state; distracting ourselves to avoid facing our current reality; or to even spend more money to feel a sense of momentary relief. Do these sound familiar? The more we replay these financial habits, the more they negatively influence our relationship with money, our wellbeing and sense of ease in our lives.
Where You Overcome
The good news is that we can shift our financial relationship by learning to take control from the inside out and tap into a more conscious and resourceful state of feeling “I am enough.” Mindfulness—the practice of paying attention in the present moment with a sense of kindness—can help us learn to quiet our stressed minds and tap into inner qualities of stability, clarity, resourcefulness, and contentment. This state not only can help us experience greater ease, it can also bring clarity to decision-making and assist in making choices to create better financial conditions. With regular mindfulness practice, we can learn to relate to our financial stress and other aspects of our lives from an internal sense of “enough.” Try this two-part mindfulness process.
Part 1: I Am Enough.
Close your eyes, and bring all of your attention to the sensations of your breath for a few moments. When you notice your mind wandering— to thoughts about what your life lacks or where you fall short—gently return your attention to your breath. Know you do not need to believe or continue giving attention to these habitual thoughts. Each time you practice shifting your attention back to your breath, you create the opportunity for your mind to become quieter.
As you continue to feel the breath, you may notice a sense of calm or peacefulness flowing into your body. Rest in whatever positive qualities you’re experiencing in this moment. From this place of deeper calm, begin to explore the qualities of enough – that inner experience or sense of not needing or lacking anything else in this moment. You may notice a sense of stability or groundedness, clarity, resourcefulness, or contentment. Staying present with the positive qualities of being enough.
The more familiar you become with this connection to being enough, the easier it will be to return to when you need it most. Feelings or thoughts that “something out there will make it better…if I could only change” will lessen their intense hold on you. Living from this state, you will begin to feel like you are “enough” from the inside out.
Part 2. Make a Plan.
Clarity can help you make mindful choices to lead a life of more contentment, security and abundance. Have pen and paper nearby. Breathe to bring yourself to your mindful place.
What are some immediate actions you could take in your life to increase your abundance, financial security, or cash flow? Perhaps the answer is as simple as making a budget, balancing a checkbook, or following up with a new client.
List the activities that bring you greatest contentment and joy. These might include time spent with friends and family or in nature, participating in the arts, sports, dancing, or volunteering… Schedule these as regularly as you can. Make immediate and long-term plans to support and reinforce your abundant life, inside and out.
Join the Mindful Daily team this month as we dig down deep and explore themes such as conscious consuming and investing in what you care about. Empowered with good tips and practices, you’ll redefine what living from enough is, and feel more control, positivity and ease in our relationship with our finances.
Also published on Medium.