A quick guide to financial Wellness. For an impactful experience, you’ll need your pen and paper for two mini reflection exercises.
The purpose of this blog and exercise is to move past our false narrative about money so that you can successfully navigate in the space of money and to create the life you want.
In the spirit of stress awareness month, April, I would like to help reduce stress around money by taking inventory of your own thoughts about money that may be holding you back. A study by CompareCards found that about 7 in 10 Americans have cried about money. Debt seems to be the largest source of stress. It also is the top reason for arguments in couples that leads to divorce.
According to Oxford's definition, money is a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes. However, beyond this definition, we all experience money differently. From our first exposure up until now, we have formed our own beliefs and emotions about money. Therefore, we look at money from the lens of our emotional experiences, not as tool.
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Part I Exercise:
Let's look at money solely from an emotional standpoint. A mini reflection exercise:
Answer these prompts:
If you were in a romantic relationship w/ money...
What would your Relationship Status say? i.e. dating? Getting to know each other? It's complicated? Love Hate relationship?
2. If your money could speak, what would it say about you? i.e. would money say, "I am treated well!" or would it say, I'm being taken for granted."
Let's pause. Get your pen and paper and reflect on these two questions. Write down your answers.
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Now that you've completed the first mini exercise, were there any surprises for you? This may be an unusual way of looking at money. So, before we look at money as a tool, let’s look at how the narratives about money might be influencing or controlling how you perceive money. Perception about money is crucial to consider because we behave in accordance to our beliefs, whether you are conscious of your own beliefs or not. For example, “Money is too hard to understand.” Let's look at the emotions and behaviors associated with this belief.
Possible Emotions: Dejected, frustrated, fear, anxiousness, stress, helplessness, annoyance, apathy
Possible Behaviors: overspending money to temporarily mask negative emotions; giving up on goals that require saving money; and/or avoiding planning the future related to money.
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Part II Exercise:
If your story about money is that people with money are greedy, list out your emotions about this belief and the behaviors that you engage in because of this belief. Do you find yourself being frivolous with your money because you have negative feelings about those who are wealthy and don’t want to belong to their category?
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This is how impactful and powerful our beliefs can be. Additionally, we are complex beings. We have many beliefs about Money, so you might find yourself in the middle of the spectrum or at times doing things and wishing you were doing the complete opposite.
According to an investment advisor, money is a tool. “It is a tool used to increase your options and/or maintain or increase your standard of living.” Research has also found that when people spend money to save time, it can reduce their overall stress.
In summary, it is helpful to take a deep dive into your subconscious mind to discover your opinion about money. These notions are driving your decisions. This is about having awareness, clarity, and understanding. You can change your behaviors by changing your stories. You can change your stories by being aware of them and replacing them with something that doesn't hold you back. Such as, "money is a tool that can help me increase my options." It'll take time, experimentation, and self-compassion.
I would love to hear how your exercise went!