Mind Hacks for Dealing with Money Stress

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I totally needed this today. Mind hacks to help you with money stress.

Money can be empowering. Proper money management can be satisfying.

But more often than not, money can be stressful. Whether you’re saving for a big purchase, trying to get out from under loads of oppressive debt, or simply trying to get ahead when you’re starting from behind, the grind of personal finance can sometimes wear you down.

That’s what we’re going to deal with today. We’re going to take a look at some mind hacks that can help you deal with that money stress. Ultimately, they come down to one thing: changing your perspective.

I’m going to be real with you. Initially, they’re going to sound too cheery. You’re going to wonder how I have so much sunshine coming out of my butt.

To be honest, I don’t. I struggle sometimes. A lot of times. I struggle with not feeling worthy. I struggle with loss of hope. I struggle with emergencies that come up and derail my plans. I struggle with the difference between my ideal life and real life.

That’s exactly why we need to change our perspectives, though. That’s exactly why we need to hack our brains and convince them to look at things optimistically. Because when we give up hope, things start to feel wretched.

You may have to try this exercise several times before you can internalize the mental shift. Try to remove the skepticism, and keep repeating the process until you actually do.

Mind Hack #1: My money goal is too big. I’ll never get there.

Replace this thought with:

I am a student of perseverance. Without the wait, I’ll never become a master.

Perseverance is a quality we all worship in our society. Here’s the thing, though: without a long wait, you can never truly develop this quality. If there’s no adversity during your journey, you’ll only have developed patience rather than perseverance. Still an admirable quality, but the latter implies a bit more grit.

When you think about your wait and struggles being a necessary part of becoming a person of perseverance, you can appreciate the struggle a little more. Maybe you’ll even learn to look forward to tackling the inevitable bumps on the long road ahead.

Mind Hack #2: I can’t do this.

Replace this thought with:

I have an incredible opportunity to demonstrate my strength.

There’s a myriad of reasons we feel like we can’t accomplish things. Maybe we don’t feel like we have what it takes to become a master of perseverance. Maybe we don’t thing we can conquer the shopaholic that lives inside of us. Maybe we don’t feel like we have the ability to ever bring in an income that will meet our needs, nonetheless allow us to save for the future.

But regardless of what you feel, you do have the strength. This mind hack reinforces that fact. You’re not learning strength. It is innate inside of you.

That’s not to say that you should deny yourself the pain. The doubt. Feel those things and feel them fully.

But then recognize that you are capable. Instead of letting your situation demoralize you, view it as an opportunity to show just how bad-a you are. Even—and especially—if it’s going to be difficult.

Mind Hack #3: I’m too busy.

Replace this thought with:

I have the opportunity to reestablish my values and priorities.

We have a major time-crisis on our hands in the modern age. There’s so much to do, and so very little time to do it all.

Stop it. Just stop it. You can’t do it all.

You can, however, prioritize what’s important to you. Maybe early retirement is important to you, so you hustle 24/7. Maybe you want to get an education to set a good example and provide better for your children. Maybe you’re okay putting off retirement a few extra years if it means you’ll get more time with your kids now.

When you’re feeling like you can’t possibly get everything done, it may very well be that you can’t. Sit down and evaluate what matters to you in your life more than anything else. Don’t compare your priorities to those of others. Just because working 80 hours per week works for them doesn’t mean it will work for you. Just because someone wants to become a stay-at-home parent doesn’t mean that you need to feel guilty about sticking with your career.

Establish your values and priorities. Pour the most time into those things. Drop the things that are no longer serving you. And move on.

Mind Hack #4: I freaking hate the Joneses.

Replace this thought with:

The people around me are doing well. That means my network is getting stronger.

Jealousy. It’s real, people.

Sometimes we make ourselves feel better about the Joneses by stating that they must be financing their lavish lifestyles through massive amounts of debt.

Maybe that’s true. But sometimes, it’s not.

Sometimes the people around just start doing well for themselves, and it’s hard not be jealous. Quell that nasty beast by remembering that if you are close enough to notice the Jones’s success, you’re probably close enough to be in their network. The closer they are to opportunity, the more likely you are to have a closer proximity, too.

Remember that they’re not being successful to spite you. In fact, your jealously probably didn’t even come onto their radar when they set their goals and pursued opportunities that came their way.

Continue being a decent person for the sake of it. Share genuinely in their joy.

If that doesn’t work, remember that burning bridges is rarely a good idea.

What mind hacks do you use to combat money stress?

Please note that I’m a strong supporter of therapy, and recognize that the stress finances play in our lives may require us to seek professional help. This is not meant to replace that help.

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9 thoughts on “Mind Hacks for Dealing with Money Stress

  1. Amanda @ centsiblyrich

    Great mind hacks here! I’m a huge believer that changing our mindset can literally change our lives. These are all very positive ways to think and this can get you a long ways toward your goals. Number 1 – “I am a student of perseverance. Without the wait, I’ll never become a master.” reminds me of a saying we have in taekwondo: A black belt is a white belt that never quit. Perseverance is huge.

    Reply
  2. Done by Forty

    That bit about the Joneses is real talk. We find ourselves in open or subconscious competition with the people around us all the time: coworkers, friends, family, neighbors. It’s hard not to get caught up in the idea that we have to do ‘better’ than the people we surround ourselves with.

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Conversely, it wouldn’t be difficult to identify people who are not doing as well as we are. All about gratitude, IMHO. It is ridiculously hard sometimes, though!

      Reply
  3. FInance Solver

    The most interesting thing that I’m seeing is that the difference between a successful person and a non successful person is the way they think. The thinking then leads to different choices which then accumulate over the long term. But it starts with the way of thinking. I love these tips because just changing something so simple can have drastic change of results. Looking forward to following your blog!

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality Post author

      I agree with you to some extent. I want to be careful here because we all have certain situations we have to deal with in our lives—monetary success is not the only measure of our worth. Just because we think a certain way doesn’t mean all of our endpoints are going to look the same, and I do value neurodiversity. Meaning that the struggles I am given in this life, and consequently the successes I will reach, will look very different from someone else’s, but that doesn’t mean that they’re better or worse.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment…and for making me think! Looking forward to seeing more of you!

      Reply
  4. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    Love this post! I’ve been guilty of the green-eyed monster. Even if I’ve achieved “success” but someone else has a different type or better, I feel like maybe I haven’t done enough. I also think its important like you said to focus on those one or two things that matter most in life, and build you life around that. I never succeeded in freelancing because I wasn’t willing to work round the clock like many freelancers to. I value time away from the computer and exercise more. No one is right or wrong in this situation, but you can’t change your deep deep deep core values.

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality Post author

      To be honest, as a freelancer I’m not willing to work around the clock either. That’s not a great quality of life for me. I do need to work on raising my rates, though, as I think that’s where my bigger struggle is.
      That’s a great point you make about “enough.” Where is enough? What is enough? And if the situations in my life require more time and attention than those that others may have, does that mean I’m not as successful?
      I think not.
      But it’s hard to internalize.

      Reply

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