May 15, 2020

A Survival Guide for Financial Anxiety & Money Mindset during Coronavirus.

Check out Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon


These are such unprecedented times.

People’s lives have been turned completely upside down in almost every way, including financially.

For those of us fortunate enough to have a safe place to live, good food to eat, and a connection to those we love, there’s a huge invitation on a global level for us to really look at how we can be in right relationship with every aspect of our lives.

And this is especially true with money.

If we look at how to bring more mindfulness into our experience with money, there are really two main realms that we’re working with. One is the outer pragmatic level: the spreadsheets, tracking expenses, looking at what’s happening pragmatically with our money.

And the other is the inner realm: this is the realm of how we internally feel about money, what our core beliefs are, and what our relationship with money is like. In the journey of completely transforming my relationship and experience with money and now working with clients as a financial wellness coach, I’ve found that these two realms with money—the inner and the outer—reflect and affect each other.

Holistically oriented people regularly incorporate this framework of understanding into their work. For example, if you’re a mental health therapist, maybe you’ve helped a client understand that their stomachache could be due to anxiety, or if you’re a nutritionist, maybe you’ve helped your clients understand how what they eat affects their emotional state of being.

Money is no different. This is one of the reasons I absolutely love this topic: because when we look at our relationship with money, we can use it as a mirror to look at and understand what is happening in the rest of our life.

In looking at how to shift the scarcity mindset and become more mindful with your money in these crazy times, first think about your relationship with money as if it were a person in your life.

So if money were a person in your life, do you currently relate to money more like a booty call—only reaching out at 11:00 on Friday night, then ignoring it the rest of the week?

Or is your relationship with money more like a long-term friendship where you regularly sit down with some wine or tea, have deep conversations about life, and are there for each other when it really matters the most?

If it’s the former and you’re like, Ugh! But I have no idea how to shift this, there’s a short exercise you can do to start shifting this right now.

To start having a more mindful relationship with money right now—in the midst of all the instability and uncertainty in this pandemic—it’s helpful to first get clear on the following:

What mindfulness practices are you using to stay centered and grounded throughout this time?

Maybe it’s having an official practice with yoga or meditation, or maybe you take three deep breaths when you feel stressed.

Taking a step back to see how this applies this to your experience with money, let’s take yoga, for example.

We can do a pose or a series of movements. And we can do this while being completely disconnected from the body.

Or we can really bring our awareness into the experience; feel more grounded, expanded, and connected to the breath; and get in the flow state with the whole self—the mind, body, and emotional benefits that this is providing.

Our relationship and experience with money is exactly like that. On the one hand, we can absolutely just relate to it like a static social construct. It’s just paper and numbers and plastic cards.

Or we can experiment with relating to it as an extension of our mindfulness practice.

So how do you do that? Well, on a practical level, the next time you need to do anything with money, which I imagine will probably be later today or tomorrow—whether that’s paying your bills, buying something, or anything else that usually stresses you out and makes you want to shut down or run for the hills—first take a moment and do one minute of your mindfulness practice, the one that really resonates for you. Maybe that’s taking three deep breaths or doing one minute of yoga or meditation.

And then do your thing with money.

Say you’re buying groceries online. Rather than doing it mechanically, see this as an extension of your mindfulness practice.

How can you take your practice off the mat and experiment with having an interaction with money that feels like a meditation in motion? How can you continue that quality of luminous spaciousness that you feel when you’re taking a deep breath, or doing yoga, or exercising intentionally, into your experience with money?

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