If you often feel like you have money on your mind, you’re not the only one. After all, finances are a major part of life, and the subject of money can be dizzying, stressful, and emotionally charged for even the most grounded and zen of us, which is why the idea of staying mindful when dealing with finances may seem like nothing more than a pipe dream. The truth is, though, mindfulness and money go hand in hand.
Do daily mindfulness practices
The old saying “don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk” applies here. In order to connect mindfulness and money, you need to implement daily mindfulness practices into your life. These practices can include things such as meditation, deep breathing, journaling, or reading a spiritual wellness book like The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo or You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. Practicing mindfulness daily will allow you to open yourself up to all it has to offer—like insight into yourself, behavioral patterns, clarity on situations and your beliefs surrounding them, and a whole lot of self-growth—and make applying the principles of mindfulness to finances much easier.
If you’re a beginner, try starting with deep breathing exercises and journaling, then eventually work your way up to meditation and journaling. Journaling is a great way to gain insight into yourself, so don’t be afraid to dig deep while you’re writing. If you want to learn about mindfulness from another perspective, consider reading a spiritual wellness book. A lot of these books tend to give the readers exercises at the end of each chapter, which is a great way to challenge yourself and your thinking. Additionally, you can also consider turning to a wellness app, like Headspace or BetterSleep, or a guided meditation by a guru like Tara Brach to help you get started. Remember that mindfulness practices and routines aren’t a one-size-fits-all, so give yourself time to test each one out and be willing to mix and match different things in order to find what works best for you.
Sit down and have an honest conversation with money
“The Guest House” is a poem by ancient Persian poet Rumi that uses the metaphor of your body, mind, and spirit as the guest house for feelings to come in. Instead of getting frustrated, shoving our feelings down, or pushing them away, Rumi challenges us to invite in these feelings—whatever they may be—and take the time to sit and talk with them the same way you would a friend, neighbor, or relative. After a while, you can then bid them adieu and go your separate ways.
We can take this same idea and apply it to approaching the topic of finances. Sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself about money: Invite it in for a cup of coffee or glass of wine, and try to discover your feelings or beliefs surrounding it. This may be difficult, but facing it head-on will help you recognize the ways in which you may or may not be holding yourself back from manifesting financial success. Work through and reconcile with your feelings; journal about them if you need to. Gaining this self-awareness is a key part of connecting mindfulness and money and also part of creating a healthier relationship with it, which will lead to financial prosperity.
Be real about your financial situation and how you want to improve it
Mindfulness doesn’t mean seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. It means sitting with yourself and all of your emotions—comfortable and uncomfortable—and dealing with them in a way that doesn’t pass judgment on or shame yourself. It’s about finding the truth in things rather than living in denial, which means that it’s time to get real about your current financial situation and how you want to improve it.
So maybe your financial situation doesn’t look the way you pictured it would at your age—but does life ever really go as planned for anyone? Don’t let yourself get caught up in the past or create a laundry list of things you would’ve done differently if given the chance. Instead, think about the lessons you’ve learned along the way and how you can apply them to your current situation and improve it going forward. This is a very mindful way to examine your money and money mindset. Break away from old habits that are no longer serving you—repeating behavior that isn’t working is only going to block you from attaining success—and replace them with ones that put you on the path toward your money goals.
Promise yourself to be more conscious of spending
Although mindfulness naturally increases self-awareness, it’s still important to make a promise to yourself to be more conscious of your spending. Holding yourself accountable and taking note of when and how much you’re spending will increase your financial awareness and help you make smarter money moves. In addition, it’s also a great way to gain control of those unnecessary impulse purchases we’ve all been guilty of at some point or another.
Two great ways to become more conscious of your spending is by tracking your finances or creating a budgeting plan to follow. Tracking your finances will show you where your money goes and how much goes with it and give you more insight into your behavioral patterns with money and areas you can cut back and save. For those who struggle with saving or are prone to impulse purchases, having a set budgeting plan to follow may be the right move. Another thing you could try is focusing on spending your “fun” money on meaningful things that will create memories forever (think: nice dinner, vacation, etc.).
The tighter you hold on to and try to control things, the more it tends to backfire—all you’re doing is blocking the space for newer and better things to enter. When it comes to money, choose to let go and stop stressing about it. Of course, you need to make sure you have enough to live, but don’t allow it to consume you. Like the poem “The Guest House” tells us, there comes a time when we have to say goodbye to certain things. Although it may be hard, it is incredibly freeing and empowering to let go and create the space for something bigger and better to come into your life.
Trust in yourself and your money skills, and implement everything mentioned above into your daily life. Everything in life takes time, and the right riches will flow to you when you’re ready. Remember: What’s meant for you will always find its way. Until then, make sure you’re aligning yourself on a path toward financial success that is mindful, meaningful, and a whole lot of fun.