Mindfulness? Money? What? Usually, when people discuss the term mindfulness, they usually talk about meditation. As in transcendence. It seems downright hypocritical to apply transcendence, a state of being that is above and beyond mundane issues like money and getting by, with, well, money. But the truth is that if you practice mindfulness the right way, everything in your life, including your money issues, are put in the right place, and you become a wholly better person for it.
Mindfulness is not just about meditation, it is all about keeping things in the right perspective. And nothing gets a person’s mind out of whack when the person is always worried about money: keeping it, making it, saving it, investing it, and, worst of all, losing it.
Here are some tips on how to practice mindfulness so you can feel more in control of your personal finances.
The next time you feel the urge to fixate on your personal money problems, don’t just think about the bills that need to be paid, the overdue rent, the car note that is a few weeks behind. Don’t focus on any of those. Don’t stop the inquiry at the dollars and cents due. Instead, focus on what those bills mean. Focus on what they represent. Go deeper than your obligation. Why are you in this position? What chain of decisions and thinking processes led here?
Avoid The Tendency Toward Feeling Guilty
The next level of mindfulness is all about tracing the chain of decisions to their ultimate source. Usually, these involve keeping up with the Joneses, impulse buying, so on and so forth. Don’t wallow in dead ends. Don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up. Don’t fall into the worthless and unproductive mantra of ‘I am an idiot for doing xxxx.’ Instead, recognize the range of emotions you felt when you made the decision that got you into debt. Recognize them. Remember them. Relish them. Feels good, no?
Draw Connections Between Cause, Situation & Result
Now that you have reached back in your emotional memory banks, you need to draw a bold line between what you felt when you originally made financial decisions that led to your current situation. Feel the burn. Don’t beat yourself up but feel the intensity of regret. These are two totally different things. One is about masochism and beating yourself up unnecessarily and pointlessly, the other is about feeling the emotional consequence of bad emotion-based decision making.
When you do this, you condition yourself to make decisions using logic, reason, and proper planning. People run away from pain and run towards pleasure. You can do the same here when you practice the right kind of personal financial mindfulness.