The Money Problem Part 1 - Your Money Mindset
When money worries and anxiety set in, it seems to take over your whole world.
It’s overwhelming and all-consuming and you just don’t know how to stop thinking about it.
Worse than that though, it almost feels as if you are being cheated and deprived when you start having to make longer term lifestyle and budgetary adjustments, and when you feel cheated and victimized, you start getting despondent in other areas - like at work.
I mean why are you working so hard if you can’t even afford a decent lifestyle?
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All of this is happening in your mind - and there are so many other thoughts to go with all this.
If you don’t make an inroad into understanding these mindset issues - and mitigating them - then you will keep falling over when it comes to making the practical decisions you need to to adjust your budget.
If you understand these concepts, and how they impact you, and you can then put them to one side, you will discover that you can go through the process of changing your lifestyle without pain, without feeling cheated, and with happiness and relaxation and ease.
I know it seems impossible to think that you can face money troubles and not panic, but you really can.
I know for a fact it’s possible because I did it - and I’ve never been happier in my life. And I’ve helped others cross that same barrier.
- Survival needs & mode
- Lack mentality
- Level of comfort, lifestyle and the basics
- Having enough
- Instant gratification
- Competition & parallels
- FOMO - Fear of Missing Out
- What ifs…
Survival needs & mode
When money stress kicks in, you often drop into survival mode.
You know what I mean - your whole mind and being seems to become immediately focused on making money, making a plan, or finding a solution. To the exclusion of pretty much everything else really.
Often you don’t even notice it until you’ve found the solution and relief sets in - and you feel the contrast of the relief.
What you don’t realize though is that this non-stop anxiety and thinking is a constant low-grade stress on your body and system, and this has a physical effect of releasing stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol into your body on an ongoing basis.
This ongoing stress chemical build up keeps you at a constant grade of stress - and permanently keeps your body in the state of fight, flight or freeze.
These hormones make you breathe faster and through your mouth, activating your instinctive and terrestrial response, directing blood away from your forebrain. Your forebrain is what you use for thinking as you know it.
So the reason you’re foggy and you can’t think clearly and you’re forgetting even stupid little things? Stress hormones.
Also blood flow gets directed away from organs, like the bowel, and towards limbs - so you can flee. Your body doesn’t send blood to digest food when you need to flee - it’s using readily available energy to ensure you can run quickly.
So you start getting sick, commonly with some sort of gastric issue at first. How often have we heard that indigestion is linked to stress? And you gain weight around your belly.
The list of physical effects is staggering, but what matters is that you understand the link between the stress hormones and why you feel sick and constantly fatigued and run down.
The answer? Use the Go Ape process ( http://www.lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/go-ape ) to turn off the stress hormones in your system. You should feel immediate relief doing this just once, but it’s very effective to do daily for three weeks or so.
It will also help you shift the stubborn belly fat the stress hormones cause you to carry.
It’s the release equivalent of a good, hectic exercise session where you really pushed yourself. You may feel physically tired after the first time you do it in fact, as the relief washes over you.
Lack mentality is going to double whammy you.
On the first level, lack mentality is about your baseline lifestyle that you are used to.
A wealth coach I followed for a while has this rule she teaches - establish a new level of broke, say USD 10,000.
When your account reaches that threshold, you can’t spend because you’re “broke”.
At face value, that does seem like good advice - until you understand that what you’re basically teaching yourself to do is look at 10,000 and say “I have nothing.”
So it teaches you to see what you have as being nothing.
The reason that concept seemed like a good idea to you when you first read it, is that most of us do this in our lives already - we consider what we have as being 'ours-already' - so basically nothing. Our zero point we are working FROM.
So we don’t consider what we’ve built up and accumulated. We’re so busy moving towards what we are going to get next that we forget about what we already have.
So, to use a very practical example, you don’t “see” yourself as having technology because you haven’t been able to REPLACE your devices for three years.
The second level that this attacks you on is that a reduction in income, or increase in expenses, means that you can no longer “do” and “get” everything that you are used to having as your baseline level of comfort.
This one nails you hard, because it’s small, repeated reminders: you have to bypass certain items in the store, so you get a bit depressed about that.
You repeatedly have to say no to social invitations because you can’t afford the expense, or can’t afford a gift if it’s a party.
So now, you’re not only reminded that your lifestyle is reduced, you’ve had to make excuses (and maybe lie), and you’re sitting alone at home on a Saturday, bored out of your mind, with nothing to do.
So you think about your loss that whole week - and the week after.
And you can’t even go shopping to alleviate your pain, because honestly, you either can’t afford an increase in monthly payments, or you’ve missed payments and you can’t use your cards.
Each little reminder adds to your accumulating stress levels, just a tiny bit more. And you edge ever closer and closer to a total meltdown.
You just don’t realize it until the moment you finally snap.
It’s that whole frog sitting in boiling water scenario - the stressors have been too small and low level for you to notice the devastating impact they have on you.
Level of comfort, lifestyle and the basics
Speaking of that baseline level of lifestyle - it’s too high when you’re thinking survival.
Here’s the thing: it’s great to have everything that opens and closes, and every new toy or gadget on the market, but when it comes to survival, you have to be practical.
You can’t think in terms of disposable income anymore - and you have to cut costs where and whenever you can.
The most practical place to cut costs? Unnecessary luxury items - and unnecessary monthly expenses.
There are so many of these, from insurances to beauty products, beauty treatments, shopping, gifts, dining out, gambling, entertainment, drugs, high vehicle costs, vacation homes and so much more.
And if you’re flinching right now at any of those, then you are exactly the person that this is aimed at.
Just because you are USED TO having something around, and it makes you comfortable, it doesn’t mean that you deserve it, or are entitled to it, or can’t live without it.
Comfort is a habit. A comfortable habit. And one that is very hard to unlearn.
Very little in life will make you feel as inadequate in our consumer-driven society, as the need to tighten your belt in a way that restricts your day-to-day life in a noticeable manner.
But if you don’t make these changes as quickly as possible yourself, you will face the pain - and potential public humiliation - of having those things taken from you.
Having enough is all about the standards of what you consider to be “enough.”
It’s about the minimum level of comfort you are willing to tolerate, and often that minimum level of comfort is that immediate lifestyle of what we are used to.
If you are truly honest about it, you need very little space and resources in order to survive - or even thrive.
But that’s not what we’re used to - and it’s certainly not what the consumer-driven society we live in tells us we need.
This concept was really driven home for me when watching an Alex Jones documentary the one day, where a group of Americans were walking past a Muslim Refugee Centre, looking at the well-kept and seemingly brand new building from the outside.
You can hear audio in the background of the two walkers talking, and the one says: “Oh shame, these poor refugees. They have to keep their windows open - they don’t even have air conditioning!”
Really? Air conditioning? When did we get to the point where air conditioning is a basic requirement for the functioning of life?
Our concepts of what WE NEED are very warped by media and marketing, and ideas like you need three healthy balanced meals a day.
We grade people in media and marketing by how much money and stuff they have, and how much they have available to spend.
You’re Living Standards Measurement or LSM 1 if you don’t really own anything electrical, or a house, aren’t educated and don’t have disposable income.
However you’re LSM 9 or 10 if you have multiple cars, multiple properties, multiple devices and electronic consumer goods - and lots of money to waste on stuff you don’t need.
So why would all this be a problem? It’s creating entitlement.
Concepts that have reached mainstream - like The Secret and manifestation - aren’t helping the situation either.
“God wants you to have everything you want.” “Your needs matter to God.” “Nothing’s too big or small for you to ask for.” “Work hard and you will achieve any dream.”
Oh and if it doesn’t work, then it’s your fault for not working hard enough. Or maybe it’s your fault for not being.
But that doesn’t mean the feeling of entitlement goes away… and unfulfilled expectation will always breed resentment eventually.
But the answer always remains that you aren’t doing something right - everyone is entitled to their version of success after all.
So you start this endless round of beating yourself up because you aren’t manifesting correctly - and then getting determined and going out again... and then failing again.
And each time you fail, you dip lower emotionally, and the psychic pain of failure grows.
Because you must be some special kind of failure if you can’t even get the basics that you are ENTITLED to.
Instant Gratification is such a killer, and it’s all about patience.
When you look at the cycle of entitlement mentioned above, one thing that’s not shown in the mix - but is crucially important to understanding why this all happens - is instant gratification.
Not only are people getting frustrated because they’re not getting what they’re entitled to, they’re upset because they’re not getting it immediately, and in the way that they want it to be delivered.
So the time from sending out the desire, and beginning to work towards it, until the time that people get depressed that they are not achieving it, is often too short for any real results to manifest or realize. And often, results do not arrive in the way that we expect them to arrive.
Nowadays you get instant everything - and people want that silver bullet of happiness.
Even seasoned seekers and journeyers are guilty of this: you will catch yourself waiting for that next healing or insight that will magically make everything fall into place.
This silver bullet, miracle syndrome, and wanting instant relief that fixes everything is a pipe dream. It doesn’t happen like that.
Results are often hard earned, and there are many years and years of feeling like you’re running on a treadmill and going nowhere fast.
Competition & Parallels
Even if the concept of Mirrors of Relationship still eludes you, it’s important to know that we see ourselves in relation to other people.
So when you walk in and look at someone and think they’re attractive, you subconsciously also compare them to yourself, deciding if they are more attractive or less attractive.
We see this commonly in society with concepts like “dating outside your league.”
Why it’s important to understand this is because it’s also one of those moment-to-moment things that we do every day, without realizing it.
As we go through the day, we compare what people have, and can do (by our perception), comparing it to the lack or loss we now face.
So you’re walking to the train and you pass your favorite coffee shop, and see someone walk out with your favorite drink - and you remember that you are now deprived of your favorite.
And then you wonder why that person is “better” than you because they can still afford the drink, and to be buying coffee.
The truth is that that person may never have bought from that store, or bought that drink before. They may NEVER spend money on drinks.
The mirror inside you however, is a mirror of treating yourself daily to that drink at that store.
So when you see someone else walking out with the drink, you transpose or project the relevant bits of your story onto their life, and the snapshot picture you are seeing.
Then, while you’re on the train, you watch the cars on the highway and wonder why you don’t have a car, or work closer to home.
And then your friend calls and says she’s just bought a new bag and is going out on a date with her gorgeous, wealthy boyfriend.
Again, it’s little low grade stressors, but constant. And you parallel yourself in each of those moments, because we project and apply bits of our story onto others - often the bits that make us look bad.
FOMO - Fear of Missing Out
When you are trying to cut costs and tighten your belt, you have to be aware of the trap of FOMO, or fear of missing out.
It’s easy to make a decision once at the beginning of the month to be careful and frugal…. but when your friend is excitedly calling and saying she can get (slightly) discounted tickets for your favorite band, it’s hard to resist the impulse buy.
After all, you’re already being careful this month, you’ll just tighten your belt a bit more.
And that’s all great and well until it’s ten days before payday, and you have no money left for food or transport.
If you think focusing on work and getting stuff done is hard when you’re worried about money, try doing it when you’re hungry and worried about money. And not sure how you’re going to make it home tonight - let alone back to work tomorrow.
Impulse buy moments like those catch us unawares and off guard - and some of them are worth taking. But most aren’t, and another opportunity will come around again.
What ifs will trip you up and keep delaying you if you let them.
What if I win the lottery? What if this person pays me back or I get a bonus?
What if I win at the casino tonight….?
If you let yourself get too caught up in what ifs, you may find that you start betting or banking on them and taking unnecessary risks.
There is very little as soul destroying as not being able to feed yourself or your family - or being homeless.
We will sometimes take a wild, uncalculated gamble when the odds are against us, but survival is never worth gambling with.
Sometimes in life you just have to tighten your belt
It doesn’t have to heartbreaking or soul destroying however, and can lead to enjoying renewed life like you’ve never actually experienced before.
There’s a reason the old cliche exists: I got poor and happy. There’s a reason so many people say it.
While money troubles are difficult to go through, they are not the end of everything.
And if you can keep your survival needs met, and make peace with meeting only those for a while, this will pass sooner than you realize.
The Money Problem Article Series
- The Money Problem Part 0 - Information & Index - http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/the-money-problem-part-0-index-introduction
- The Money Problem Part 1 - Your Money Mindset - http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/the-money-problem-part-1-your-money-mindset
- The Money Problem Part 2 - The practical reality of tightening your belt - http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/the-money-problem-part-2-the-practical-reality-of-tightening-your-belt
- The Money Problem Part 3 - Your ego responses to tightening your belt - http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/the-money-problem-part-3-your-ego-responses-to-tightening-your-belt
- The Money Problem Part 4 - The global impact & why is this happening? - http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/the-money-problem-part-4-the-global-impact-why-is-this-happening