What does mindfulness have to do with finance, you may ask yourself?
Well, quite a lot actually. Mindfulness meditation is most effective when the amount of effort to sit at ease in the present moment is minimal. This can give rise to well-being in the present moment.
If you have a load of financial worries on your mind, meditation is going to prove difficult. A simple rule of thumb is:
If your life is balanced, meditation will be easier. If your life isn’t in balance use meditation to help you get your life into balance effectively.
In this blog, we are going to take a look at how to manage finance mindfully and get life in balance.
Firstly if you are not in debt then that is great, and mindfulness can help you stay that way. Once I had a great piece of advice from a meditation teacher.
He said, "If you go shopping, take a list and if you then see something you want that's not on the list just pause, take a breath or two and ask yourself: do I really need this?"
I've done this many times, especially when food shopping and the answer to the question has been a mixture of yes and no. Sometimes it was a case that I’d forgotten to add the item to my list. Other times the question came up just because I fancied the tasty thing I'd just seen.
Pausing to stop though helped a great deal, the needy feeling would have a moment to settle and I could ask myself again: do I really need this? If the answer was no, I’d simply leave it but if the answer was yes or maybe (the mind can be tricky) I’d pause again and ask myself if I could afford it.
Below I’ve talked about budgeting and here knowing your budget is essential. If you can’t afford something then going without would be better. If you experience this then try using mindfulness to notice the sensations of the body, the feelings of disappointment and just pausing for a moment to be with them.
Reflect on their arising and passing away nature.
This can be a powerful training tool to get spending under control. It can also be enjoyable eventually, as being content and in financial control gives peace of mind; that is priceless!
Try some of this for yourself the next time you, say, go food shopping. The principle can then be applied to any type of purchase, giving you more financial control over your life to bring you peace of mind.
Another approach I've taken over the years is: write down what my income is and compare it to my outgoings. I take a yearly figure and then break it down to a monthly figure and then a weekly one. This gives me an awareness of what I have to spend.
Here is a list of financial categories I look at:
Expected yearly income
House Hold Bills
If you don’t do this already and would like better financial awareness then go through the list; apply it to your life.
This can give you a good awareness of what your budget is and you might even be able to identify areas you can save on or spend more on.
This blog has been looking at how to stay out of debt, which if you do and you start to practise mindfulness meditation, you'll find that you don't have financial worries on your mind.
Meditation is like going below the surface of the thinking mind into a quieter place; emotions are still there but their currents are less. If the thoughts at the surface are too loud, such as "I'm in debt" then they will drag you out of that quiet place back to the surface.
At the surface emotions and worries can then throw you around all over the place; so at times it is essential to deal with these, as they shouldn't be ignored.
If you have found yourself in debt then take a look at next weeks blog: Managing your way out of debt mindfully. I hope it has some good tips on this understandable tricky subject that may benefit and help you along the way to a debt free, peaceful life.