5 Things I Do When I'm Stressed About Money
Money, money, money, moneyyyyy. Money. Does everyone sing that song before they’re about to write about money?
Such a complicated subject and such a simple one. Money is simple in that it’s an exchange. It’s an exchange of value. It’s part of the story of choice. The complicated part is the story. It’s part of the story we tell ourselves. It can become part of how we perceive ourselves, value ourselves, and limit ourselves.
Money, I have found, is intrinsically linked to self-worth.
It is also tied to our upbringing. The way our parents perceive money is often very similar to the way we perceive it. For example, I grew up believing I had to work very, very hard for a little bit of money. Once my perception of that changed, the money I was able to make did as well. This enabled me to grow my business and serve others in ways I wouldn’t have been capable of before.
But, I’m not here to get so much into the details of that. What I’m writing about today is the feeling I just got when I opened my Mint account (I use Mint to organize my finances, and I highly recommend you do, too. If you’re having money issues the first and best thing you can do is to become conscious of it all.) So, I opened my Mint account this morning, and I felt a pang in my gut.
So here’s the reality: my bank account has nothing wrong with it. I’m not in a totally dire place. I’m a little strained because of this dog I’ve been pouring money (and lots of energy) into trainings and a new apartment in which I’ve doubled my rent. And then when things are tight we inevitably have long lost bills that come strolling in and car troubles that throw us another grand in the hole. So all of that is happening for me all at once right now. Because that’s what happens sometimes in life.
So here’s what I don’t do when I feel pangs of anxiety related to money:
- I don’t tell myself that I’m doing it all wrong.
- I don’t curse myself for not getting a corporate job like a lot of other people in the world (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
- I don’t tell myself that there’s something wrong with me, that I’m not worth more.
- I don’t frantically start doing random things left and right in a desperate attempt to bring in more money (though if desperate times call for desperate measures, by all means have at this one).
- I don’t avoid my financial situation like hiding from my bank account or leaving bills in a pile.
Here are the 5 things I do when I'm stressed about money:
- I feel gratitude for each and every dollar that is in my bank account.
- I look back at my life and remember every time I was stressed out about money, and I remember what it did for me: absolutely nothing. It made me crazy. It made me depressed. But it never gave me more money.
- And then I also think about all of those times and remember that they passed. Nothing dramatic happened. I was never homeless. I was never starving. Everything always turned out ok.
- And that thought brings me to this: I remember that everything is exactly as it needs to be.
- And I always deal with it. Meaning, I look at my bank account. I prioritize. I avoid nothing and become conscious of exactly where I’m at financially.
Now this is not me giving you financial advice. Some of you may be in situations where you could lose something big. Something dramatic might happen. You might lose your house. You might be having trouble feeding yourself or your children. That could be the case for you, and if it is I am sending you so much love.
But there are many of you who are in the boat that I’m in. Times get tight and then they get better. I know this because I talk about it to a lot of people. Some of my friends call me franticly and desperately second guessing their lives because they’re going broke. We speak again a month later, and it’s like years have passed. Those feelings are long gone, and they’re back in safe mode.
And that’s a big part of how money makes us feel: safe. Money buys us freedoms, easy solutions to certain problems, and luxuries. It allows us to remove a specific stressor.
But what if you were safe regardless of money? What if you knew that the universe always has your back if you let it? What if you relied in yourself so deeply that you knew you’d always make it? What if you had such a strong, supportive community that you knew you’d always be ok even in the toughest of times?
These are the things I know I need to strengthen when I feel stressed about money.
I need to strengthen my faith. I need to keep doing my good work. I need to keep giving and keep receiving.
And if you need money, go get a job or another job or a different job or a promotion. Ask people if they need the amazing work you do. Be out in the world, and don’t be afraid to be seen and to be heard and to give and to receive in the form of a paycheck.