Most of us struggle with financial anxiety at some point. It’s perfectly normal to constantly be worrying about money, especially at a time when inflation has changed prices we thought we could depend upon and the economy feels so uncertain. However, in addition to understanding that your fears are valid (and even universal!), it’s important that you make a plan for managing both your anxiety and your cash flow going forward. Here are six easy ways to boost your money confidence and your bottom line.
Meet our panel:
- Christine Luken, author of Money Is Emotional, is a money coach with over a decade of experience empowering others to rescue their financial dignity.
- Maria Nemeth, PhD, author of The Energy of Money, is a leading expert whose work has been featured on The Oprah Show.
- Amanda Clayman, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and coach specializing in financial wellness. She is also the financial wellness expert for SheKnows media.
Tell yourself a new story
When you find yourself in a stress spiral about money, the key is to shift from negativity to self-compassion. “When you think, ‘What if I can’t save enough for retirement?’ for example, try to focus on a more positive thought,” says expert Christine Luken. “You might say, ‘I work hard, I’m saving money where I can and it will be okay.’” Self-kindness curbs defeatist thoughts that keep us paralyzed in fear, so we can move forward, confident in our ability to improve our financial future.
Giving your time, talents, or even a small donation shifts your focus outward, away from your worries and toward true abundance, assures Luken. “It broadens your perspective, reminding you just how connected you are to others,” she says, promising that whether you enrich your relationships or invest in your community, generosity is a boomerang: It comes back to you in surprising ways.
Savor your wins
“At the end of each day, jot down three things you’re thankful for — and include one thing that involves your relationship with money,” urges expert Maria Nemeth, PhD. That could include anything from being able to pay a bill to scoring a great deal. “When we focus on gratitude, our narrative around money changes from one of dread to one of dreams.”
Pick your ‘safe container’
“Most people with money worries will avoid looking at their accounts,” says expert Amanda Clayman, who advises what she calls a “safe container” strategy, which simply means scheduling a specific time to look at your money, thereby “safely containing” your worries. “I have a client who schedules her check-ins as ‘grumpy accounting’ on the calendar to bring humor to it,” says Clayman. “As soon as we acknowledge our emotions, we can take control.”
Focus on small changes
Rather than making drastic changes to your budget, focus on incremental shifts, urges Clayman. For example, rather than say, “I’m not going to do any online shopping this month,” you might say, “I’m not going to shop online at night,” she advises. “You don’t have to overhaul your entire financial life — just start with one or two small, realistic changes.”
Remember you are resilient
Our finances will always have their ups and downs, which is why it’s so important to remind yourself things will get better. “We’re incredibly flexible creatures, and research shows that one year after a major change — positive or negative — our level of life satisfaction returns to where it was before the upheaval,” says Clayman. “You’re much more resilient than you give yourself credit for, and taking that to heart is key to success when it comes to money and life.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.