Feel a knot in your stomach when you sit down to pay the bills each month? Wake up in the middle of the night wondering how or when you'll ever get out of debt? Do helplessness and hopelessness set in when you read the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer? Does it anger you that average working wages inch up in tiny increments, that the cost of living is on the rise and interest rates likely will soon follow?
Your worry and anxiousness over money is shared by millions of others, for whom financial stress is eating away a sense of security and well-being. As hard as being in debt, rising grocery costs and other money worries may seem, the drain they have on physical and emotional resources is harder and costlier. They sap your health, unsettle your relationships, lower your productivity and diminish your happiness.
Most of us believe if we just work harder, think harder and try harder, we can resolve our financial issues. Often what happens is focusing more brainpower and effort on these problems actually takes us even further from their solutions?
Here's an alternative approach. Try resolving these — and other challenges — by releasing stress and letting your heart's intuitive guidance manage your thoughts and actions. How? There are simple tools/exercises that will help you stop that continuous loop of anxiety and fear, freeing up energy that can be directed toward finding new answers to old problems. We can't always control our external situation, but we absolutely can create a balanced connection between the heart and brain. This balance helps reduce the drain on our inner resources, lessens insecurity and opens new pathways to solutions.
Nine Ways to Ease Your Money Worries:
1. Focus on feelings of gratitude.
Sit down and make a list of what you're grateful for. It's hard to feel anxious or scared while focusing on feelings of gratitude. Think about someone you appreciate. Then take a moment in your heart to feel appreciation for the person. If you choose, tell him or her. You'll be surprised at the new energy you bring back to solving money issues that cultivating gratitude and expressing appreciation creates.
2. Be more objective.
Approach your financial problems more objectively. If you were going to give advice to a person in a similar situation, what would it be? Stepping outside yourself enables you to see things more dispassionately, without being as invested in the outcome.
3. Shift your focus.
Stop and remember the basic conveniences and luxuries in your life that you may take for granted. Much of the world lives in poverty. It may sound simplistic, but when we stop to consider the less fortunate, from a “wholeness perspective," it puts our money worries in a far different light.
4. Get to the heart of the matter.
Anytime you feel like you're falling into the cycle of worry and angst, use the Quick Coherence® Technique for fast relief. This breathing and emotion-refocusing tool helps to raise your heart coherence, which, among its many other benefits, sharpens your clarity and decision-making and increases your energy in the moment. (Regular practice, of course, will help you sustain these benefits over longer periods.) You'll be able to sense the release of accumulated anxiety over financial concerns. It's that anxiety that compels you to constantly sort through the little details of every issue you're facing. Click for the Quick Coherence Technique.
5. Don't oversaturate yourself.
The indicators of recovery from The Great Recession notwithstanding, there are plenty of stories out there about its lingering ill-effects and other disparaging financial news. Staying informed is important, but taking in an excessive quantity of disturbing news day after day can lead to a growing sense of pessimism. Try to watch or read the financial news without getting lost in a negative mindset, and balance the negative stories with ones that help to stimulate more creative, optimistic thinking or even ideas about money.
6. Take advantage of new technology.
The software in smart phones, tablets and other personal digital assistants and in computer programs for managing finances can make life easier and more enjoyable. Use them, by all means. For the same reasons and even more compelling ones — your heath, for instance — take advantage of the technology that's out there today. Biofeedback devices, software programs and various digital tools can improve your life tremendously. (Learn about HeartMath's coherence-building and stress-reducing technology.)
7. Don't keep everything to yourself.
Reach out to a friend. A friend can help you gain a different and clearer perspective. Don't, however, choose a friend that may simply add drama to your situation. Find an expert you can talk to about your money worries who is knowledgeable and unbiased. Financial advisors and credit counselors can help release some of the pressure on you. There are many free resources where free financial advice is available.
8. Give some money away.
It doesn't matter how much you can. It's the giving that's important. Whatever the amount, giving to someone in need or to a cause or charity you feel aligned with takes you out of self-centeredness and focuses compassion and caring on someone else. Knowing and acting from a place of I have enough to share builds your sense of personal empowerment.
9. Don't punish yourself.
Constantly blaming and shaming yourself only serves to sap your energy and health and make you feel bad. It doesn't solve your problems. It does add to your anxiety and feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. The moment you find you are about to punish yourself, do Quick Coherence; it only takes a few minutes. Giving no energy to such feelings and instead becoming coherent, thus sharpening clarity and decision-making, enhances your heart's intuitive guidance. While you are in this state is perfect time to tell yourself things will not always be this way. All things change, including your finances.
Your money worries are just that: worries. They are not you, the person you were meant to be, a caring, compassionate and appreciative heart-focused individual living in at a time in which all of humanity is navigating toward global coherence, peace and prosperity. Lowering your stress, even in small increments to start, and raising your heart coherence are investment ideas for the ultimate financial strategy because it's a strategy is risk-free.* This is an updated version of previously published HeartMath Institute article.