8 zen tips to master money mindfulness and wellbeing
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘money can’t buy happiness’. And yes, it’s probably true. Lots of research has already shown that raking in the big bucks actually has little impact on our long-term happiness. But, what can be said of the opposite— can money make us feel low?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, yes. For many, money means stress. Budgeting, planning for the future, and managing our wallets can leave us feeling a little anxious at times. So, is there a way to fight this funk?
It’s a tough one. And we definitely don’t have all the answers, but here at ApTap we’re all about changing the way you think about money. So, we’ve had a long think about how to create a positive relationship with money, or, as we like to think of it, how to reach money enlightenment!
So, without further ado, have a look through our top zen tips to de-stress about your money…
1. Start talking about money
Religion, politics and money are often seen as taboo subjects. But whilst we’ve become more comfortable talking about our beliefs and love lives, money is still often seen as a no-go subject. Not talking about money can cause problems, as every single aspect of our lives is affected by our finances in some way or another. If they aren’t in a good place, it might affect our mental and physical health. If there is dishonesty, it can hurt the trust in your close relationships with family and friends.
Listen to advise of Simonne Gnessen, financial coach and co-author of “Sheconomics”, a book that provides practical tips and solutions to women’s money problems while also tackling their emotional relationship with money. “First of all, be intimate with yourself around money, know what’s coming in and going out … And then share that financial intimacy.”
If we open up to friends and family, and even get tips from them on how they manage their money, the taboo around the topic will begin to break. It’s also very likely that your nearest and dearest have the same woes – together, we can support each other and lift each other up.
2. Get yourself the right tools
If you want to become the greatest zen master, then you'll need the right tools. And we're not talking about Buddhist scriptures or a meditation mat. It’s important to get conscious of your cash, and the tech world has taken notice by releasing a steady stream of financial tools to lend a hand. Start using ApTap to have a more clear idea of your budget and switch for faster, cheaper and better rated deals.
3. Get informed – knowledge is power!
Getting in the know is one of the most important steps to money mindfulness. Unfortunately, England has one of the lowest levels of financial literacy. In fact, one-in-three adults in England and Northern Ireland cannot work out the correct change from a shopping trip, according to new research from UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and University of Cambridge. This often leaves people feeling insecure when it comes to their money, which can trigger anxiety and sleepless nights. After all, with knowledge comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes enlightenment! Start by simply committing to check your bank balance once a week.
Seeing the closing balance on your accounts at the end of your statement cycle can be a sobering experience if your spending habits are not aligned with your earning potential. Oftentimes, if your account balance is less than $20 at the end of the month, it can be the wakeup call necessary to set a working budget. Reviewing your account statements regularly can also give you the insight necessary to take your mortgage to a more affordable lender. Seeing how much you spend on your home loan can be the catalyst to look for a lower mortgage interest rate.
4. Don’t fall prey to the society blame game
Silence society! There’s this pervasive message in our culture that money equals hard work, lovability, or success. But as we all know, money struggles are highly complex – and not the result of being lazy. There’s definitely nothing to be ashamed of, and, more importantly, no one is alone.
If you’re stressed about money, the chances are you’re actually an average person! A study of 27,000 people around the globe found that money is the world’s number one cause of stress. Unfortunately, anxiety and shame stop many people from getting the help they need or just confronting their money matters as a whole. So, if we can shake off the stigma, money enlightenment awaits!
5. Make a routine you can stick to
With structure comes a sense of security. Financial therapist, Amanda Clayman, advises setting up regular slots in your day for checking in on your money – just like you do with brushing your teeth or practising a hobby.
Most of us only think about money when there’s a problem, and so it becomes associated with those negative thoughts, even before you’ve seen your balance. By building money into your daily routine, you can decouple money from stress. So, check in everyday, even if you’re feeling fine. And hey, seeing that you’re on track with your budgets might start to create that feel-good buzz of a positive relationship with your money.
In the same way, the word ‘budget’ doesn’t have to be a negative. It’s often associated with targets, and the possibility of missing them. But, if you associate it with your goals and what you’re aiming for, it can transform into something exciting – something you can really get behind!
Meditation studies professor, Lodro Rinzler, suggests that the morning is the best time to check in! The mind “has a certain freshness to it in the morning, says Rinzler, but “the best time of day to do it is the time of day you can consistently do it.” When you've first woken up, you haven't set a spending pattern for the day yet, so you can focus on your long-term money goals.
7. Check yourself before you check your bank balance
You can’t start fresh before understanding and forgiving your past behaviour. To do that, it’s time to get personal with your money fears and ask some of the big questions. Why don’t I want to check in with my money? What am I really afraid of? By answering these questions, you can uncover the link between money and negative thoughts.
Once you’ve asked some of the tough questions, try flipping it and ask yourself what positive outcomes could come from mastering your money. What are the best experiences money’s given me? What is my money goal, and which small wins can get me there faster?
8. Know the signs and stop them in their tracks
From online shopping to boutique hopping, impulse buying is more than just about the purchase. A lot of the time, it’s about getting that kick of dopamine, that quick rush at the click of a button or the tap of your card. Sure, this feeling is great for a speedy de-stress, but in the long-run it won’t leave you feeling zen.
So, how can we spot the signs of an impulse buy versus a genuine need? It’s a tricky one! Like tip 7, it’s always best to question yourself first. Ask yourself if you’re spending out of habit or with intention, and importantly, if the buy will bring you joy!
So, how do we get out of the funk of spending equals de-stressing? Try writing down what you were going to purchase, and then wait a day or two. Ask yourself: Do I actually want this thing, or was it all for the rush? Would I rather this item now or would I prefer putting it towards that trip I’ve been planning? By delaying the purchase, you’re able to re-approach it with a clear mind.
Basically, it’s about being mindful with your money. Give it a second thought, and if you still want it, then go for it.
So, while we know money mindfulness might seem miles away, we hope you feel one step closer to enlightenment! Whether you use a tool like ApTap to get to know your spending and budgets, or you’re chatting with friends about your money goals – we really hope you’re feeling more zen!
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