The following blog is by Amy Jo Lauber originally published on her blog page.
Everyone struggles with making tough and stressful financial decisions. Sometimes we feel the place between our rock and hard spot is inescapable.
Why not make this ground a little softer?
Taking a mindfulness approach to your finances could provide relief and a boost of confidence in making fiscal decisions.
So what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a mental state attained through practices that help you learn to focus on your awareness of the present moment.
How does this help me with my financial situation? Mindfulness helps you – the budgeter – by:
1) Increasing your awareness and clarity about your inner self and your situation
2) Assisting you in making intentional, wise and confident decisions
3) Helping you cope with financial stress
4) Improving communication with your budgeting partner
With mindfulness exercises you will be able to calmly recognize and accept your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. In this case, about money!
Let’s get started on applying mindfulness to budgeting!
First let’s talk about Wise Mind. This skill helps you make tough decisions! We all have two states of mind (reasonable and emotional, or sometimes referred to as your brain and your heart, respectively) that impact our decisions. If these two minds are not BOTH taken into consideration it will result in an uneasy feeling about our decision.
The reasonable mind makes a lot of good points, but the emotional mind needs to be soothed. When the two come together, you will get that feeling of “knowing,” the “ah ha” moment, also known as the wise mind. To get here, you will need to do a little work and be very honest with yourself!
Below is a diagram of the two minds and a list of questions to help you navigate each. Once you answer these questions do not be alarmed if you do not have a decision! This just means you are left with more questions to ask yourself . Simply get the information for these new questions and return to your wise mind worksheet and complete it!
To start: Think of a decision you are trying to make. For example, Should I cash my stocks or not?
Note! Take a few deep breaths between answering the questions for each! This way you can be relaxed and clear-headed before you begin to explore the next mind.
1) What crossed my mind when I began looking at this decision?
2) What upset me about it?
3) How am I feeling?
4) What is making me feel this way?
5) What am I reacting to?
6) What is the worst thing that could happen? (Linehan 1993)
1) Based on fact, what is the evidence?
2) Which decision is more reasonable?
3) What do I think I should do or what would I tell a friend to do?
4) Is it really as important as it seems? (Linehan 1993)
Wise: Don’t forget your deep breath!
1) What is the bigger picture?
2) What will be the short-term and long-term consequences of my decision?
3) What is the best decision for others and myself?
4) What will be the most effective decision?
Now that you have your answer, you will be able to work towards accepting and communicating your decision to your partner.
Without overloading you with all of these skills at once, you can find upcoming posts on the Explore What’s Next blog that will explain mindfulness in more detail.
If you try out these new skills and find that you need more guidance you can always contact me at [email protected] or give me a call to schedule a session at 716-440-5627.
If you want to hear another perspective on our emotional and rational brains, watch the video of my TEDx talk, “The Space Between Our Left And Right Brains Where Financial Decisions Are Made (Or, Not Made)
About the author: My mission: I help people make good financial decisions with confidence. My purpose: I help people find peace with money. As President of Lauber Financial Planning, I provide financial advice, guidance and coaching on a fee only basis (no products, no commissions). I run a monthly support group called “I HATE Budgeting (But I Like Having Money)”, offer classes and seminars, speak around the world on the psychological, sociological, spiritual and emotional aspects of personal finance, and am the author of the ground-breaking book, “Living Inspired and Financially Empowered: Aligning Our Spiritual and Material Lives.”