Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of our attention on the emotions, thoughts, and actions occurring in the present moment.
The practice of mindfulness can significantly improve our relationship with money. But how, exactly do you practice mindfulness with your money?
Here’s my top mindful money tips
Pay attention to your money
When we spend mindlessly or without intention, leave bills unopened, ignore our bank or credit card statements, pay bills late or procrastinate with managing our finances then we’re often in a state of ignorance. In order to get in control of our money, we first need to face the facts. We need to create some awareness around how we are earning and how we are spending our money. We don’t have to beat ourselves up about it, but we do need to create awareness of what our current money reality is. Taking our head out of the sand, paying attention to bills, taking a good look at whether we are spending more than we are earning, knowing our debt levels are and how our bank accounts are looking are all mindful money acts. And, it’s from this place of awareness that we begin to gain clarity and start to take back control.
Observe your inner experience
Interestingly much of our behaviour with money is often driven by our emotions. Fear, greed, anxiety, excitement are all emotions that can influence our decisions and drive good and bad habits when it comes to our finances. To truly be mindful with our money we need to connect with what is happening inside our body and our mind and take note of the emotions, sensations and urges we have with it.
Do we ignore our money because it’s boring, or because we’re scared of what we may find? Are we spending because we are bored or need to entertain ourselves, or because we’ve had a stressful day at work and feel the need to treat ourselves? Did our confidence take a hit and we feel the need to buy something to make us feel better, or are we spend money in order to look good or to impress others?
It’s can be surprising to discover just how much our emotions are impacting our wealth!
Take a step back
We often get so caught up in our own life and way of thinking that we find it difficult to see our habits, actions and behaviours objectively and for what they really are. As the saying goes it becomes difficult to “see the forest for the trees”.
A simple mindfulness approach we can take is to step back whenever we interact with or make a decision with our money. When we remove ourselves from a situation and see our behaviours and actions from someone else’s perspective it can help us to work out what is helpful and what isn’t, and give us an opportunity to reflect on how we can approach or do things differently.
Pause for a Moment
In our busy lives it is can be so tempting just to rush to buy, to spend, to have! But by being in such a rush all the time we may find that our actions may not align with our intentions and we may not be heading in the direction we actually want to be.
A lot of what we do is often driven by our sub-conscious or auto-pilot and without much awareness. One of the simplest ways to introduce mindfulness and awareness is to just pause and take a breath. This simple act of taking a moment to pause can have a very dramatic impact on our money! How? It breaks our automatic behaviours and thought patterns and gives us space to reflect and check in. It creates a moment of awareness and can help us to divert our behaviours or actions.
So next time you’re out shopping and you are ready to buy something, I’d like you to just pause for a moment and take a breath. The same goes for online shopping. Before you click “pay now” in the checkout, just allow yourself to pause for a moment. Have a look at what you’re planning to purchase and consider these questions:
“Do I really need this, or is it just a want or nice to have?”
“Will this thing add to my life?”
“Can I really afford this?
This pause and three simple questions can be a simple method to break our automatic behaviour and thinking patterns and create more awareness and consciousness with our spending.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending money, but when we do I think we should do it in a mindful and purposeful way.
Mindfulness is a skill and something that we can get better with over time and with more practice.Bringing our attention to the way we earn money, spend money and use money in our day to day lives is one of the simplest ways to start creating a more conscious and healthy relationship with it.
One that helps to support us in creating healthier, wealthier and happier lives.