"When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love." -- Thich Nhat Hanh
Money makes many of us miserable. Study after study shows how financial worries make us fat, stress out our kids, cause us to lose sleep, and ruin our relationships.
So what are we to do? Conventional financial wisdom starts with facts: how to save more, spend less, and pay down our debt. While those are clearly vital steps, I no longer think they are enough. To truly eliminate financial stress we need to question the very role we want money to play in our lives.
Over the past few years, I made the shift from corporate employee to self-employed entrepreneur. Being a financially conservative money expert, the change from a steady, predictable income to a volatile, self-directed income stream was terrifying.
Then I stumbled on a secret. Occasionally, I'd find myself having brief moments of feeling fully present, aware and grateful for life. In those brief, delicious moments I began to see how financial angst often comes from striving to be somewhere other than where we are right now.
To be clear, I'm not denying the presence of real financial difficulties. Rather, I see the need for a powerful shift in the way we think about money. Why we are striving for things that often leave our souls empty? Reflecting on this right-brain question can free us to act on the practical left-brain advice that improves our financial well-being.
With this in mind, I want to share with you three financial practices to help you bridge the gap between your left and right brains... and maximize the MoneyJoy in your life.
- Be where you are... to shift the way you relate to money. Being in the now snaps us out of the default mode of modern life's relentless, blinding pace, where we can no longer see reality for what it is. When you are more connected to the present, you are more connected with who you are. This essential self-knowledge gives you greater clarity about how you want to spend your money.
- Accept the present... to protect yourself from financial fear and social anxiety. Financial fear is often based on beliefs about the past or future. When you are captivated by the past or obsessed with the future, you are much more susceptible to look to spending as a way to relieve suffering. A joyful, expansive sense of identity and purpose in the present helps us relate to our finances from a place of peace.
- Reconnect with your finances... to find true freedom. First create some space to reconnect with the truth of who you are and what you desire for your financial life. Next, get real about where you are, without judgment. Write down what you own and owe, what you earn and spend, and find out your credit score. From this place of peace and understanding, your next steps will be clearer. Acceptance of what is creates the energy for transformation.
Are you ready to begin your own journey of MoneyZen? I invite you to adopt one (or more!) of these practices in your daily life.
This post originally appeared at MoneyZen.com. For more MoneyZen in your life, follow Manisha on Twitter at @ManishaThakor, on Facebook at ManishaThakor, or sign up to receive Manisha's MoneyZen blog via email by clicking here.