5 steps to get rid of financial anxiety.
Look around you, at your friends, extended family and even your co-workers and mutual acquaintances. Doesn't it seem like everyone you know is navigating through some financial issue or situation? Ask any one of those people what the biggest, most stressful area of their life is and odds are, their answers will involve money in some form.
And, even though the majority will say it's about money, the truth is, the problem with money isn't about the money, or the lack thereof. It isn't about how much money you make, or how you spend it or save it. It's about how it affects you and the people around you. It's about how your money life funnels down and into your marriage, your relationship with your kids or your boss, your parents and your friends.
Because it's not about the money, the solution isn't listening to others to learn more techniques for how to spend less and save more. The remedy 95% of the time, is understanding how you think and 'talk about money.' Most importantly, the money conversation that mostly needs shifting is the one inside your head. Because when you change how you think and talk about money with me, myself and I, everything shifts.
Whenever money stress gets involved with your internal conversation, fear leads the way—and leading with fear is almost a guarantee that no solution will be found. There's a reason FDR relied on Sir Francis Bacon's words from 400 years ago, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Dwelling in a fearful state of mind only brings more of the same and you become unproductive, to say the least. So, how do you shift the conversation with me, myself and I so you can find peace, calm and a semblance of normality in the midst of money stress?
Here's my five-step solution for moving out of financial fear and anxiety and back into life as usual:
- Talk it up: Ignoring anxieties and keeping fear bottled up only makes them fester and grow. Share thoughts and feelings with someone and get their perspective. Without shared perspective, we magnify negative speculation, mix it with past failures, and the financial bogeyman grows. With sharing, things become more balanced. Possibilities can balance out problems.
- Stay in the moment: Affirm today's financial reality. Did you make it through yesterday, last week, last month? Have things changed that much? Is there enough for today? None of us know what's really ahead—but we can be certain about today. Staying in the moment and not getting too far ahead puts a stable foundation back in place. Come back to the truth of today.
- Choose your battle: Dig beneath the dollar issue; what's your real concern? Be honest—is it mistrust, lack of control, powerlessness? Today's financial fears easily keep you worrying about things you can't change, but you become empowered by transforming those you can. Can you stop the rising cost of groceries? Probably not, but you can make subtle changes to your grocery list (or start using one). Put your energy into areas you can change.
- Take the next step: Don't worry about all the steps from here to financial stability—only worry about the next step. Keep your focus on small financial goals and begin shifting from emotion to motion. Pay a bill; open a savings account or retirement plan; cut up a credit card—any next step will start the momentum. Ultimately, the culmination of those next steps will build trust in your ability to meet future goals.
- Do it again: When the next wave of fear and negative internal messages appear (and they will) go back to #1. Fear is a part of life, but it doesn't have to take over your life. The first time through these steps will feel like work. But, use these five steps often and soon you'll slip right through fear into empowered action with a blink of an eye.
There you have it, a simple plan responding to time-tested sage advice. Five easy steps you can use when money stress raises its ugly head. A road map to move you from emotion to motion, paralysis to possibility, fear to trust. After all, trusting in the clear voice of me, myself and I is the real solution.
Jane works with individuals and couples in person, by telephone or Skype. As a coach, consultant and trusted advisor, Jane will help find a new way of thinking about and living with money. During a series of six meetings you and Jane will co-create the best way to solve your specific money issues. Along the way, you may choose to continue working with Jane to tackle other business, work, and life issues.