Modern Mindfulness: The benefits of practising money mindfulness
New to the Modern Mindfulness series?
Catch up by reading Modern Mindfulness For Beginners first and Modern Mindfulness: tools for stressful situations.
Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment by paying conscious attention to your environment and your internal state. It is a skill and practice that holds many benefits, especially when it comes to managing your money in a clear, intentional and purposeful way.
A mindful practice requires you to pay full attention to your money by being present and aware of what you are thinking, feeling and doing with your finances. This can allow you to make better decisions when it comes to money such as curbing impulse buys or saving for long-term goals.
By being mindful in this aspect of life, we can feel financially empowered, resilient and less stressed.
Steps to creating mindful money habits
Your feelings towards money:
Our emotions are influential when it comes to finances. Fear, greed, shame, anxiety, jealousy, loneliness, excitement are all emotions that can influence our money decisions and drive good and bad habits when it comes to finances.
Part of the reason people “act out” financially (e.g. gambling or spending excessively) is because the behaviour gives them a chemical high. If we feel empty, lonely, distressed, or anxious, we can seek out that chemical high as a temporary fix.
To practise mindfulness with your money requires you to take notice of these emotions as they are occurring. We all have a set of money scripts, which are beliefs around money, that have been passed down from generations and most likely our financial situation right now is a direct result of these beliefs that we’ve been carrying around in our head since childhood. Take time to shed some light on your money scripts by asking yourself questions:
What three things did your mother teach you about money?
What three things did your father teach you about money?
What’s your most painful financial experience?
Your most joyful financial experience?
What are your biggest financial fears?
By answering these questions and unlocking your historical family patterns, you can uncover the link between where you are now and the lessons you absorbed.
Your mindset towards money:
Creating a vision for your money and setting goals for the future is an important step of money mindfulness. It encourages us to stay present and focused on our actions towards these bigger visions, keep on track towards our goals, and make necessary adjustments along the way.
If you aren’t clear on your goals, take time for reflection with these questions:
What you are aiming for?
What is it going to take for you to get there?
How do you define success? What does wealth mean to you?
What are you grateful for?
Being aware of all of these things helps you to better understand the role of money in your life and how you can begin to use it in ways that best support you. Have your goals available for you to see daily; it could be on your vision board, on your fridge or on your bathroom mirror.
Your actions towards money:
Your habits, actions and behaviours with money will predict your experience and reality with it. If you spend without thinking, leave bills unopened, ignore your bank or credit card statements, delay your savings goal, or procrastinate managing your finances then your money is more likely to control you and cause stress.
Adopting a mindfulness practice is about bringing awareness to these habits and behaviours and choosing to continue those actions that support (rather than detract) from your future wealth.
Using your money in a conscious way, and not just spending when it feels good, requires some out-of-the box thinking. It’s not what we’ve been told to do. But being mindful of where your money goes benefits you and society.
As we’ve mentioned above, the impulse to buy is about more than the shopping. It’s a coping mechanism to deal with our feelings and internal dialogue. When you’re next in a situation to impulse purchase something, ask yourself these questions:
“Do I need this?”
“What am I giving up for this?”
“What is this really about? What am I avoiding right now?”
“What can I do to fill this desire besides spending money?”