053 - What Does Mindfulness Have To Do With Money? (A Lot)

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When I embarked on my journey to find out how I could live a financially free life where I could break free from the tyranny of being worried and stressed out about not having enough money for the lifestyle I wanted for me and our kids, I never thought I'd find it in MINDFULNESS.

As I delved deeper into mindfulness, I discovered that practising mindfulness is exactly the thing that brought the peace of mind, confidence and a sense of abundance and gratitude about money that I was searching for. It wasn’t making more money that did it for me. It was through mindfulness that I found the security and reassurance I'd always been looking for externally - be that in other people, my education and qualifications or my job. 

The practice of mindfulness has helped me to stop stressing about money and still enjoy life, even while paying off our 6-figure business debt, even through having my income reduced because of the pandemic, and living with the uncertainties of corporate life during a period of mergers and acquisitions. 

Listen to this episode to learn how mindfulness can help you stress less over your money and financial life.

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Transcript


When I embarked on my journey to find out how I could live a financially free life where I could break free from the tyranny of being worried and stressed out about not having enough money for the lifestyle I wanted for me and our kids, I never thought I'd find it in MINDFULNESS.

After all, isn't mindfulness for all those 'spiritual', 'psychic', 'strange' people who lived in another world? It's not for a go-getting, ambitious and financially successful person I wanted to be. Being raised in a very practical Asian society where going after your dreams and living out your purpose is just wishful thinking and not the practical or responsible thing to do, mindfulness was the last place I expected to find financial freedom. 

That was until I started learning more about mindfulness and discovering that besides mindfulness being backed by extensive research, it is now widely practiced in medical centres around the world to heal and enhance the well-being of people. 

As I delved deeper into mindfulness, I discovered that practising mindfulness is exactly the thing that brought the peace of mind, confidence and a sense of abundance and gratitude about money that I was searching for. It wasn’t making more money that did it for me. It was through mindfulness that I found the security and reassurance I'd always been looking for externally - be that in other people, my education and qualifications or my job. 

So how can the practice of mindfulness help you overcome your financial anxiety and stress about money?

Since mindfulness is defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as ‘the awareness that arises by paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally', applying this to money just means learning to pay attention to your present financial situation - no matter what that is - and letting go of wanting it to be different. It's about letting go of all the guilt, shame, resentment, anger or whatever emotionally-charged thought you have about money and your current financial situation, and just letting it be. 

It isn't about passive resignation, far from it, mindfulness trains your mind to be able to deal with whatever situation comes up with the confidence that no matter what, you have everything in you already to deal with it. 

The practice of mindfulness has helped me to stop stressing about money and still enjoy life, even while paying off our 6-figure business debt, even through having my income reduced because of the pandemic, and living with the uncertainties of corporate life during a period of mergers and acquisitions. 

Mindfulness helped me stop the stream of worrying thoughts like 'will we be able to pay for our kid's college education?', 'when will we ever pay off our mortgage?', 'am I doing the right thing with my investments?', 'how am I going to save for a 'rainy' day?', 'do I have enough for my retirement?' and all the questions and fears about money that moms face.

This was really surprising to me. But then one day it suddenly dawned on me that it makes perfect sense. It also explained why all the advice I’d been given so far about being ‘smart’ and ‘good’ about my finances never sat well with me. 

Most financial advice will tell you to have a budget and stick to it. In addition to it feeling like a diet that restricts and deprives you of the life your heart longs for, a budget is always dwelling on the past. It’s about looking backward at what you spent on what. And if you bust your budget, then it’s about the shame and guilt, making you feel like you’re just not good enough with money and that’s why you’re in the financial situation that you’re in. It assumes you should have known better.

The other main piece of financial advice is always about the future and how you must save, invest and grow wealth for your future and your retirement. In order to be safe and secure, you must have a healthy nest egg, or have $x million in x years if you want to maintain your lifestyle. If not, you’re going to suffer and grow old broke.

Both of these approaches are fear-inducing, shames and guilts you into doing something about your money. No wonder so many people are stressed out about money! Because they believe that if they don’t do the right thing with their money, they’re going to suffer and burn in hell and it’s going to be the end of the world.

Dwelling on the past keeps you stuck in regret, anger, resentment, fear that the same thing will repeat in the future. Worrying about the future fuels the anxiety you feel because of all the uncertainties ahead. 

Mindfulness practice trains your mind to build up the muscle of being aware of and being fully in the present, without having to cling on to good times that make you feel good or push away bad times that make you feel bad. 

Instead, we learn that our thoughts are just thoughts. They are not fact, or reality, neither do they define who you are as a person. They just are. You can just drop into the present moment and watch your thoughts like an independent, outside third party observer, without the running commentary which is often so judgemental.

Of course tracking your spending and knowing how much you need to earn for the future you want are important. But the missing piece that helps you do all that with freedom, peace and security is your ability to be present and accepting of your current financial situation, no matter where you are now. 

There is a way that you can do this without all the fear and anxiety - and that’s through applying mindfulness when dealing with your money.

When you combine the practice of mindfulness with financial systems and tools that help you stay present with your money, rather than just looking at your past, or keeping you stuck in anxiety about how much money you need for your future, an incredible sense of peace washes over you. 

Even if your current financial situation isn’t ideal, you can let go and just accept it for what it is now. You don’t need to let fear or anxiety stop you from taking the small, daily steps towards your dream life. 

Because you know, just like you can take each next breath and breathe, you can keep taking those small action steps towards your dream life. No matter what comes your way, just like you pay attention to your breath in this moment, and this moment and this moment, you can also apply this to your financial life through every small step you take as you journey through creating the life you want.

If you’re interested to learn more about how to apply mindfulness to your financial life, then I’d like to invite you to join me for 12 weeks of live sessions from January to March 2022. 

This is 12 weeks of live class, coaching, hands-on experiential activities with your fellow students to equip you with all the skills of taking care of your financial life - mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually where. 

I’ll be sharing the 12 steps of my holistic mindfulness and practical money management system to help you overcome financial anxiety and create a life of financial confidence, peace of mind and freedom without the deprivation, shame, guilt or putting your life on hold.

You can find out more by going to twopointzero.me/program, that’s TWO-POINT-ZERO-DOT-ME-SLASH-PROGRAM

I look forward to seeing you in the program!

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SHARON SIDHU
The Financially Free Woman Podcast Host

ABOUT SHARON & THE FINANCIALLY FREE WOMAN PODCAST

The Financially Free Woman Podcast was launched in November 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic to share the stories of everyday people making a living doing what they love. While training her students in leadership and mental resilience, Sharon noticed the rising level of financial stress and anxiety experienced by many of her students. It dawn on Sharon that this was an opportunity for her to share how she overcame her own financial anxieties triggered by her personal experience with a 6-figure business debt and being let go from her job as the family's primary breadwinner. She began sharing everything she learned about mastering not just the practical side of money but also her mindset around money. Through this work, Sharon began meeting and building a community of women creating and living their dream lives. The Financially Free Woman Podcast is a collection of stories, practical tips and strategies to help you discover your passions, and use them to make a lucrative living. Imagine a life where you spend your time doing what you love and getting paid well for it! That's exactly what these women featured on the podcast are doing and they tell you how! Get inspired and start creating your own your dream life!

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