Posted on Friday 04 June 2021
Are you frequently feeling stressed about money? Does the worry about paying bills on time, saving enough money for the future, or being able to afford a big purchase seem overwhelming? Have your past experiences with money caused you to feel fearful or anxious about your financial future?
You’re not alone. A 2020 poll showed that 77 percent of Americans were feeling anxious about their financial situation – which is not surprising, given the coronavirus pandemic. While Canadians are less anxious about finances in comparison (38 percent), stress and worry over money is higher than over relationships, work, or health.
Releasing money related traumas is all about reshaping the way that you think about money. By adjusting your thought process, you can reframe how you spend it, save it, and – most importantly – how you can benefit from it. Whether as an employee going back to work after Covid-19, or as a business owner.
If you’re feeling stressed, afraid, or isolated because of your finances, you’ve come to the right place! In the sections below, we’ll help you release those money related traumas and take the next step toward a healthier, happier relationship with your personal finances.
There’s a science behind the way that we think about money. Whether you are rich or poor, money has an undeniable power over what we think about, what we do, and how we act. Here’s how money can impact thought processes:
Not so fast! It’s easy to assume that wealthy people are stuck-up, snobby, or were only able to become rich by losing some moral fiber along the way.
But here’s an unexpected consequence: if you consider rich people to be bad people across the board, you may wind up subconsciously stopping yourself from being financially successful. That thought process actually limits your ability to have a healthy relationship with money.
If your parents declared bankruptcy, or if money was scarce, then you’ve grown up with potentially detrimental beliefs about money.
When you experience money scarcity at a young age, that can create negative internal thought patterns, like “money is the cause of problems,” or “money never lasts, so what’s the point,” or “I’d better spend this money right away because I might not get it again.”
Did you know that money can become just as addicting as gambling, alcohol, or drugs? That’s because the need, desire, and drive to earn more money can release dopamine, a chemical that triggers feelings of happiness or an adrenaline rush. It keeps people at their jobs longer than required and business owner far more occupied than they should be.
And when your positive emotions come from getting more money, that can create a powerful (and even harmful) thought process.
The psychology of money can even go a step further for those with significant financial trauma. Having excessive debt, trying to get a job during a widespread market downturn, losing a job, declaring bankruptcy, or being unable to pay monthly bills, housing, food, or healthcare are all examples of financial trauma. Especially for a lot of Canadians.
If you’ve experienced financial trauma at any point in your life – even if it only lasted for a few months – you could be feeling the after-effects for years to come. Below, we’ve compiled some expert tips on how to release money related traumas and start rebuilding a healthier, more positive relationship with your personal finances.
It’s easy to get caught up in emotions, and money related traumas can be particularly emotional. Instead of hiding from them or pushing them to the side, try to embrace those emotions and take a moment to recognize them for what they truly are.
If you’re feeling anxious or scared about money, take a moment and ask yourself why you are feeling that way. Where is that emotion coming from? How does that situation make you feel? What would a healthy response to that situation look like?
This will be tough at first, and you might not have all the answers right away. But getting into a regular habit of thinking about your emotions and how they relate to money can go a long way in helping you develop a more positive outlook on your finances.
This one is tough, but it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle. Money related traumas often mean that you might avoid looking at or thinking about money altogether. Small things, such as checking your bank account, reviewing credit card statements, or opening bills can all act as triggers for panic, anxiety, or frustration.
And while it might feel like a temporary fix to avoid doing these things altogether, the end result is a never-ending snowball of financial issues.
Don’t avoid the things that trigger stress. Instead, gradually start working through them. This is a great opportunity to start practicing the process of embracing and recognizing your emotions when it comes to your personal finances.
Take small steps to make this more manageable. For example, maybe one month you decide to check your bank account balance every week. During the next month, you can add checking your personal credit score to the list.
It will feel uncomfortable at first, but the benefits are more than worth it. Not only will you slowly start to break down that wall of anxiety and fear, but you’ll also start understanding where your stress comes from and be able to create a plan to succeed.
Everyone has struggled with money at some point in their lives. With very few exceptions, even millionaires have gone through periods of financial famine. Your friends, family, and loved ones are the best resources that you can have when you are feeling stressed about money.
Be open with them about your financial trauma. Ask them for their advice – they may have gone through something similar in the past and could help point you in the right direction. At the very least, they will be able to offer a compassionate ear, which can make all the difference when you are struggling with anxiety, fear, or frustration.
Financial professionals are there for a reason – use them! If a source of your money related trauma stems from tons of unpaid credit card debt or loans, make an appointment with a credit counselor.
They’ll go through your finances and help you create a personalized plan that puts you on the path toward success. They can even negotiate with your creditors to get lowered interest rates or reduced monthly payments. A credit counselor can even go over budgeting with you and help you craft the best monthly budget for your needs!
Every little bit helps, and it makes good sense to partner with a financial professional who understands your situation and is dedicated to helping you succeed.
Money related traumas can feel overwhelming – especially if it’s a trauma that you’ve held onto for a long period of time. As with so many elements of self-improvement, the first step is recognizing the issue and making a commitment to improve. And now matter what, know that you are not alone – and most importantly, that you can do this!