You’ve probably heard the saying “money makes the world go around” and if you actually stop and think about it, there is a quite a lot of truth in this statement.
Money is an essential part of our lives and it impacts nearly everything we do from the type of job we have, to the house we own, the car we drive, the choices we make, our relationships and even our level of self-esteem, health and our wellbeing.
We spend a lot of our life focused on money: our time and attention is consumed working to earn it, spending it, investing it, saving it, ignoring it, wishing we had more of it!
In reality, money is a very powerful force in our lives which we can either learn to control, or let control us.
But our finances are a loaded subject. We’re not taught much about managing money in school and as adults, cash as a topic of conversation is considered nearly as taboo as sex and politics.
It’s no wonder that money is cited as the leading cause of stress and a leading contributor in relationship breakdown and divorce! When we lack confidence, control or awareness with our finances or we’re not actively managing our relationship with it, it’s more likely to become a stressor in our lives.
In my experience, one of the simplest ways that we can create a healthier relationship with our money is to introduce the practice of mindfulness to our finances.
Money mindfulness is the practice of bringing our attention to our finances, taking our head out of the sand and being honest and truthful about our current financial situation.
It’s not a process of beating ourselves up for current or past mistakes but an act of becoming aware of our present situation and relationship to money and then using this awareness to help us create healthier beliefs, habits and behaviours that better support and empower us to manage our money.
What a money mindfulness practice brings attention to
How we feel about money.
Our money beliefs are ideas, thoughts or opinions that impact our money behaviour. We may view money as a form of security or enjoyment or as a measure of status. It may represent freedom or restriction to us. Most of these money beliefs are not formed consciously but are developed as a result of our experience or influenced by our family, friends, education, social media or society. As our beliefs are reinforced over-time, they move from our conscious mind to our sub-conscious mind which means they create our automatic behaviours and responses to how we manage money.
We use these beliefs as a window through which we see everything and this affects our behaviour and decisions relating to how we value money and use it in our everyday lives.
By questioning our beliefs about money we can switch from an automatic to a more conscious attitude. We can also replace limiting beliefs with more positive ones!
Our current relationship with money.
Each of us have an emotional relationship with our money that we may or may not be aware of. We might spend money to make us feel better if we’re feeling down, our out of boredom or distraction. We might use money as a way to reward ourselves or use it as a way to measure our success.
It’s important that we understand how money influences our emotions and in turn how our emotions influence our money decisions.
While we all have a history with money, we shouldn’t let our past experiences and beliefs with money rule our present and future experiences or relationships. What’s most important to realize is that it’s never too late to take control of our relationship with money.
Like any relationship, our relationship with money can improve with a little effort, love and attention. Creating this awareness around emotions and money helps us to make smarter decisions and enables us to use money in a clear and more conscious way.
A mindful money relationship is one of awareness where we focus on how we manage our money in the present. We aren’t hung up on past mistakes or poor decisions we’ve made with our finances. We’re more focused on how we can best use our money today as a resource to create more wellbeing in our lives.
Our behaviors with money
Our behaviors with money ultimately create our success with it and will determine the abundance or scarcity of money in our lives.
To create mindful money behaviours is to bring awareness to how we use our money in our daily lives. It involves understanding our spending habits and behavior when it comes to earning and saving money.
Money behaviours can be learned by us all. In fact, mindful money behaviours can be as simple as creating a spending plan for our money, sticking to a budget, saving a little of our income, managing our impulsive spending habits or reducing our online shopping sprees. It could involve a conscious effort to pay bills on time or communicate better with our partner or loved ones about money.
A simple mindfulness method when it comes to our money behaviour is to pause before we act with our money. A pause provides an opportunity to break impulsive, habitual or emotional behaviour and gives us both space and time to reflect and check in with our values and our money goals. It enables us to align our actions in a more positive way.
When it comes to our money, our mindset can be one of the biggest contributors, or the biggest detractors from our wealth. When we are mindful with our money, we create an awareness and intention with it. We understand how our thoughts and emotions can influence our behaviour with our money. And as an added bonus, by getting clear with the present, we’re less likely to manage money on auto-pilot and more likely to create conscious and healthy money habits that support us in our journey to abundance.
Lea recently founded a social enterprise called Wellthy Pty Ltd which delivers The Mindful Wealth Movement (http://themindfulwealthmovement.com), a financial wellbeing program for women.
Lea takes a unique approach to explaining money and teaching financial literacy, using left & right brain, feminine and creative approach interwoven with yogic philosophy, mindfulness and sustainability principles and life skills.