Last Sunday, I wrote about the waste of worry, and how to limit the time you spend worrying about things that may never happen. This week, I’m going to focus on something almost everyone I know indulges in: worrying about money. In this tough economy, worrying about money has become an accepted part of our culture, and it doesn’t seem to matter how much or how little money you have. Worrying about money has more to do with your mindset than your bank balance.
I’m not a financial expert, so if you’re looking for advice on what to do so you have more money coming in, this is not the right article for you. But I do have some suggestions for you that may help you break the destructive habit of worrying about money.
The energy of gratitude is a powerful force. It can shift your mood and your thoughts very quickly. Gratitude is about being in the present moment, and appreciating what’s around you. Gratitude is about choice: you have the power to choose how you view any given situation in your life.
When it comes to money, we’ve been conditioned to always feel that we never have enough. We’re always looking to make more. But how much is enough? In this old mindset, there is no “enough.” I offer you this as food for thought: if you own a car, you are automatically in the top 7 percent of wealth in the world. If you can’t find a way to be grateful for being in the top 7 percent, rising into the top 4 or 3 or 2 percent won’t make you feel any better about money.
When you feel that you don’t have enough money, ask yourself what you are grateful for in this very moment. When you first start this practice, it may feel artificial, and your response may be “I’m grateful for a sunny day – but I still don’t have enough money.” But over time, the words will take on a different energy. You will start feeling truly grateful, and your mindset will shift.
It can be helpful to make gratitude a formal practice: begin and end each day by listing five things you are grateful for. Your energy will change.
Change how you think about money
Changing how you think about money can also make a difference. Rather than constantly complaining about how expensive everything is, about how you can’t pay the bills this month, and about how the economy will never get better, putting the focus on gratitude rather than lack works here, too. When you pay your electric bill, focus on being grateful that your home is being kept cool all summer long. When you pay your credit card bill, be thankful for all the things you’ve been able to purchase during the billing period. When you pay your lawn service, be thankful that someone else is taking care of a dreaded chore for you and makes your yard look beautiful.
I’m not suggesting that you can think yourself rich by practicing gratitude and changing the way you think and talk about money, but I can promise you that you will spend less time worrying about money as your energy shifts as a result of these practices.
Albert Einstein said that there is only one question you need to ask yourself, and your answer to that question will determine your entire outlook on life. It will affect your health, your relationships, and yes, even your finances. That question is “Do you believe in a friendly or a hostile universe?” If you believe in a friendly and supportive universe, you will begin looking for, and seeing, evidence that supports this, and your relationship with money will change. If you’re a spiritual or religious person, draw on your faith to let go of worries about the future. Meditation or prayer help calm your mind and bring peace.
Cats don’t worry about money. They have faith that we will always provide for them. And somehow, the bowl is always full in time for the next meal, and there’s always a sun puddle to nap in, and there’s always a warm lap to curl up in. I think they have the right idea, don’t you?