Coping with financial stress is an insidious, and sadly all too pervasive issue these days. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that it doesn’t impact all aspects of our lives, but the fact is that it does.
We’re all facing soaring inflation and a cost of living crisis, even for those on above-average wages.
According to research conducted by Personal Capital, 57% of Americans link their finances to their happiness. Finances are the number 11 cause of divorce, but the number 1 cause of spousal arguments.
That should give you some degree of confidence in the resilience of relationships, but it’s also evidence of just how much financial stress can impact the rest of your life.
Surely, you’ve all found yourself short-tempered with other people when finances are tight. Looming payment deadlines and impending invoices would just sit there in the back of your mind, nagging away at you.
There are many issues at bay here, but the chief one among them is pride. Here are five tips on coping with financial stress and how you can bounce back from it.
5 Tips on Coping With Financial Stress
Pride affects our ability to cope with financial stress. Not being able to meet your financial obligations is a slap in the face. It feels like the whole world will know you as a failure.
Whether that’s because you couldn’t budget properly or don’t make enough money. It all points to you lacking value and that’s painful to confront.
Now, it’s not even half true that you lack value. Nevertheless, when you’re in a state of feeling that way, there’s a tendency to lash out rather than be self-reflective.
As a result, other areas of your life like your relationships and mental health begin to suffer.
There’s also the compounding effect of feeling under-resourced. It’s no coincidence that, whenever you’re going through a period of financial stress, that’s when the unexpected expenses seem to come along. The car breaks down, your water heater stops working or you need a new microwave.
It’s not that these things happened because of your financial stress, it’s just how much more of your focus and resources they take as a result. Whether that’s because you have to find the money to repair the car or take the time to fix it yourself. They’re all resources.
So, let’s get into my five tips on coping with financial stress and how to bounce back.
1. Deal With Your Mindset
Having the mindset is the key to everything. Think of it simply, “you won’t change anything without first changing your mindset.” You must recognize your power in all this.
The temptation is to give in and start blaming external factors like the markets, a pandemic, or even the war in Ukraine. Those things certainly made an impact in our lives but if your mindset is such that you believe you are purely at their mercy, you are.
Don’t give away your power freely like that. Own where you are, completely. Take back dominion over your life and commit to making new choices.
Yes, events can happen out of your control, but your response to them isn’t.
2. Find Your Money DNA
This may sound like a gimmick but it’s surprisingly real.
Money DNA is your innate, creative abilities. The ones that are encoded within you on a deep level. Everyone has them. What often happens when embarking upon a new venture, is that we try to force ourselves to fit with something that isn’t designed for us.
This is why garbage dumps all over the world are littered with scornfully discarded ‘self-help’ DVDs and “get rich quick” books.
Just because something worked for someone else, that doesn’t mean it will automatically work for you. Adopting a “one size fits all” attitude offers sellers of said self-improvement products an indemnity of sorts because they can always claim that you didn’t follow the program properly.
Cookie-Cutter Approach is for Cookies
The cookie-cutter approach is only good for cutting cookies. You are unique from society and you’re even unique from your brother or sister. Even twins have their differences and not everyone will share the same path and goal.
Therefore your approach to creating success, in any field, must be equally as unique. That is not to say that what has worked for someone else can not work for you. But you need to educate yourself enough to understand how to find the aligned strategies, modalities, or advice that would work with your Money DNA.
Do this and you’ll alleviate financial stress because you’ll have the confidence of knowing exactly what to look for. Opportunities will stand out to you, even at times of apparent strife.
3. Understand Your “Why?”
Have you ever held an outcome so clearly in your head, that it was just inevitable? It could be something as simple as making a cup of coffee or taking a shower. Something where the result was so clear to you, that the process of making it happen was never in doubt.
If you have a clear enough “why“, you can whether any “how”. Nietzsche explained this and he was absolutely right!
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Bouncing back is simply another “how” and if you are fully connected energetically with your “why”, the pieces will fall into place. That doesn’t mean that it won’t take work, but you will avoid the stuck state of not knowing where to start.
If you are connected with something that you were born to do, and you know you’ll never stop moving towards it because it is yours, then you’ll have all of the motivation you need.
4. Find Your Identity
A lot is spoken about identity these days, but usually, regarding immutable characteristics like gender, race, body type, etc. That’s not what we are discussing here.
What this identity means is what Sigmund Freud called the “superego.”
This is the projection of yourself based on your ethical standards. It’s the idealized version of you that, were you able to attain it, would indicate that you’ve become the best version of yourself, according to your definition.
We develop a sense of the superego in early childhood, based on our parent’s moral standards. It continues to evolve into early adulthood as we begin to encounter other role models.
What can often happen though, is that we don’t check back in with it. We consider ourselves to still be unrealized superegos, based on decades-old criteria. This is why you need to get back in touch with who you are seeking to become, as much as what you are wanting to achieve.
Going Back to Your “Why”
Why do you want a million dollars? It’s not for its own sake, so why do you want it? It’s because of who you imagine that will make you.
But you should ask yourself:
- Who is that person?
- Are they “better” than you, based on your superego standards?
- What do they do with their wealth?
- Do they help & support others?
Build a picture of who you are, having achieved your stated aims and goals, on an average day. Then ask yourself:
“Is that truly who I want to be?”
If you understand this, a lot of your financial stress will melt away because you’re probably holding yourself to unnecessary standards.
A lot of people want to become millionaires, without taking the time to ask if that’s right for them. A huge number of them end up realizing that they don’t need anywhere near that amount of money, to live a financially free, abundant life.
And because of that, the barriers to entry fade away.
5. Build Emotional Resilience
This is not some “stiff upper lip” British thing. Building emotional resilience is knowing yourself and understanding what you need, to optimize your day. Your emotional state dictates your whole experience.
Go into your day in a bad mood, full of a sense of victimhood and that’s how you are going to interpret events. If you choose to focus on the positive and recognize all the resources that you have at your disposal then obstacles that would have overwhelmed you in the past, won’t have the same power over you.
To do this, again, it comes back to knowing yourself. Understand what you need to do to set up for a good day. It could be listening to positive affirmations first thing in the morning, or guided meditations.
The good news is that emotional resilience can be developed, and a great trait that can also be used to handle all types of stresses, including financial.
Maybe you just need your coffee to be right, who knows?!
Integrate Your Day
Whatever it is, do the work of finding ways to integrate it into your day.
Something that can work is by doing regular check-ins throughout the day. To do this, just set an alarm three or four times throughout the day. When it goes off, pause what you’re doing and just check in with yourself.
It doesn’t have to take long, but just sit and listen to what’s going on in your mind and your body. You’ll find that this not only helps you understand your emotional state better but that it also offers you a reset.
Read a book, take a nap, punch a bag, walk the stairs, or eat a bowl of cereal. It doesn’t have to be what others do. Remember, not everything works with everyone. Once you’re back in a state of neutrality, free of the past and fear of the future; you’ll make much better progress.
How to Cope With Financial Stress
Hopefully these five tips on coping with financial stress and how to bounce back help you to do just that. Having a financial problem is tough, so try going back to this list whenever you need to.
Hold yourself accountable and just bring yourself back to the process of self-discovery. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by fears of the future. Bring your focus back to the present and the next baby step that lies in front of you.
That’s all that is really “real” after all, and therefore the only space from which you can impact anything. All that financial stress can serve to do, is pull you out of the present and into a projected future of assumed poverty.
Don’t beat yourself up for feeling it, but recognize it for what it is. Look at it impartially, take a moment. Then bring your awareness back to the present so you can make new choices in alignment with your consciously chosen goals.
That’s how real change is made.
Featured photo credit: micheile dot com via unsplash.com
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