05/29/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Mind Over Money

I've known for a long time that I could change my internal dialogue -- and in so doing, change my daily experiences, my career, my health, my happiness, my financial situation, my love life, and just about every other aspect of my life. That doesn't mean that I always do it ... Sometimes I forget -- or I get slip into negative thinking because I'm tired, sick, or running low on energy. I'm an imperfect human being who sometimes forgets to use the great tools I know are available. But sooner or later I remember -- or a loving friend reminds me - and I'm back on track, harnessing the power of my mind and my words.

In January, I began re-reading Chellie Campbell's terrific book, The Wealthy Spirit. Chellie is a big believer in affirmations and they're an important part of the work she does in helping people reduce financial stress. I've always understood the power of attitude and expectations, but still I resisted affirmations as a little too "woo-woo" for a practical woman like me. However, when I worked with Chellie's book, the results I got overcame my skepticism and reservations.

Upon my initial reading of The Wealthy Spirit several years ago, I decided to suspend disbelief and try it her way. I practiced her first affirmation -- "People love to give me money." I repeated it to myself as I walked my dog in the morning; I repeated it while I took a bath later in the day; I repeated it as I drove to a restaurant one evening to meet a date. "People love to give me money," was my mantra for the week.

My date was lovely -- he bought me a prime rib dinner, complete with wine and dessert. As we concluded our date, we walked toward the exit and he stopped at the maitre d's podium to get change for $100 bill. He got his change, then turned to me and pressed a wad of bills into my hand. "Here's for the valet parking," he said, giving me a peck on my cheek. I smiled to myself as my affirmation echoed in my mind, People love to give me money.

I used that affirmation all week. My cousin dropped by my house and handed me $100. "What's this for?" I asked her. "I owe you some money from a couple years ago," she replied. "No you don't," I argued. "I would remember if you owed me money." "Trust me," she said, "I owe you the money." "Well, OK," I said, tucking the bills into my jeans pocket. Ka-ching! People love to give me money.

I drove to San Diego to visit my mom for my birthday. My step-dad greeted me at the door with some photocopied articles about cell phones -- and a $50 bill. "What's this? Birthday money?" I asked. "No, it's for the postage for all those jokes you mail me every week." "You don't have to pay me," I protested. "It's my pleasure to send them." "I want to pay for the postage," he insisted. Ka-ching! People love to give me money.

And so it went all that week. Money showing up from unexpected sources -- royalty checks, refund of a double payment I had mistakenly made on my FedEx account, and more. "People DO love to give me money," I happily sang day after day.

That cured me of my disdain for affirmations, big time. So much for "woo-woo" stuff ... I'm happy to woo-woo all the way to the bank.

If financial stress is a problem for you, get a copy of Chellie Campbell's book, The Wealthy Spirit. Do everything she tells you to do, especially those affirmations. One of my favorites is: "My affirmations are working whether I think they are or not." Makes me laugh every time.

Positive thinking is just the first step in reducing financial stress. Here are all six:

1. Think Positive: Like mind over matter, mind over money begins with believing you deserve it and can get it.

2. Send Out Ships: You can wait for your ship to come in, but if you don't send any out, it's going to be a long wait.

3. Count Your Money: Money is a game and you have to know the score. The money score will tell you how well you're doing st steps one and two.

4. Swim with Dolphins: There are three kinds of fish in the financial sea -- sharks (dishonest people who prey on others), tuna (victims), and dolphins (people with integrity and good values). Sharks won't pay you; tuna can't pay you. Swim with the dolphins -- together you'll make plenty of money.

5. Survive the Storms: Business and life aren't all smooth sailing. You must weather your internal storms as well as the external ones. Perspective and persistence are the keys.

6. Seek Balance and Enlightenment: Promote peace and prosperity for all. Start with yourself.

It takes time, of course. You can't replace a lifetime of financial worry with one book -- even a great book. That's why it's helpful to re-read books likeThe Wealthy Spirit again and again. It's not that we're slow learners -- it's that we're fast forgetters! We all need frequent reminders that financial stress reduction really is a matter of mind over money.