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I have been a radio talk show host for 10+ years, so I’ve seen a lot in the realm of money, stress, relationships and finances. However, I was blown away by this data…Nearly 3 out of 4 adults in the U.S. are stressed about money. The American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” survey results for 2014 show some jaw-dropping stats. 72% of adults report being stressed about money. 22% say they experience extreme stress about money. Obviously, this is a major problem. The survey also found that stress in general is worse for women than it is for men. The survey reported 51% of women say they have laid awake at night unable to sleep because of stress in the past month compared to just 32% of men.
I am blown away by this. It’s like we are torturing ourselves. Money is just a concept. Conceptual things are only as valid and real as we allow them to be. It’s our choice, but what’s the solution? Let’s start with the WHY behind it…
Why do we stress about money?
The “unknown” is why we stress about money. The unknown is why we stress about anything. The unknown in this case is in the future, so it seems to be something we could never grasp, never understand, never trust. However, we do understand the future to some extent. Right now is the future of yesterday. Did we worry about money yesterday? Did our worst nightmares come true? No, they didn’t. So, we have some experience of fearing the unknown and then living the future later. We experience many times that our worst fears did not in fact come true. In fact, almost ALL of the time, our worst fears do not come true. We have that to lean on when we worry. Based on past experience, even if we hit a bump in the road, it works out in the end. Let’s remember this.
Drill down with this question: What is our worst fear about money? Let’s try to get to the core of our concerns. Usually, we’re afraid of not having any money, being homeless or even helpless. If it’s not that extreme, then we fear being poor. Not having enough money to eat at fancy restaurants and wear expensive clothing. We don’t think we’ll be out on the streets necessarily, but perhaps we’d have to live in a poor area of town. Even deep down, we don’t think we will starve to death. What are the chances any of this worry will actually come true? Is it likely or unlikely? Perhaps it’s extremely unlikely. Either way, worrying about it means we are not in the present moment. Realizing that alone can make a big difference because, right now, everything is great!
Money is everywhere. It’s not a secret. We all know how to make money and there’s endless amounts of it in every direction we look. Does that mean we’ll always be able to enjoy what we’re doing or fulfill our dreams while simultaneously making money? No, but it means we know how to get money. So, if this is the real worst-case-scenario, then there is nothing to fear. Our worst-case is having to take a detour on our path, do some hard work and make ends meet until we figure something else out. This isn’t anything to worry about when we get the core Reality of the situation.
How do we change our thought process about money?
1. We have to tell ourselves the Truth first. We have to accept that nothing terrible is going to happen and even in a worst-case-scenario, we will be ok. Let’s say it out loud. “There is nothing to be afraid of…”
2. We have to be mindful of our priorities. Now that we’ve accepted money isn’t difficult to find, many other things in our lives can rise above money on the totem pole of our attention.
I should note there is a sweet spot here. Poor people and rich people are the ones who worry the most about money. Striving to have a decent income is great, but if we go too far, we’ll make things much worse. When we can make a decent living and have everything we need to be content in the material realm, we need to stop there. Allow our attention to flow toward other things: family, friends, creative outlets, hobbies, etc. The biggest cause of financial stress in my experience is getting over-obligated. Buying expensive cars, homes, and taking out loans for school. It’s owing money that is the major cause of financial stress. If you are debt free, it’s likely you are the 1 in 4 adults who don’t stress about money. So, the key is to under-obligate yourself. Drive an inexpensive car, get a house you can easily afford, and work to pay your school loans off as you go. If you like this article, you might also like: Wealth Consciousness is NOT about Money
Happy meditating. I hope it helps and I’ll meet you in the calm amidst the chaos. Namaste 🙂