Worry, Stress and Strain
We all have times in our life when the state of our finances causes us to worry,
sometimes these are minor worries and sometimes more major worries.
In terms of our health it isn’t the size of the worry that’s the issue but the length of time you worry for. That’s what determines the effect on our health.
Prolonged long term stress about money is recognised as having a serious effect on our health.
It weakens our immune systems, increases inflammation and makes us feel tired.
It can also affect our mood; making us irritable, depressed and difficult to live with.
How do you stop worrying about money?
Before we start, we want to get something off our chest…
The chances are if you’re worrying about money you want a quick fix, and as a result you won’t read more than a few lines before you move on.
This could be your pattern and quite possibly why you have problems in the first place.
So you’ve got two choices: read this properly and take action or move on.
Phew…now we’ve got that over with, back to how to stop worrying about money…
And you’re still reading!
Here’s the tricky bit. You can’t stop worrying about money, but you can change it’s form and nature.
Ideally you need to change your worrying to constructive thinking, and allocate times dedicated to do that thinking. That way it will limit the effect on your health and help you solve the problem.
Dedicated constructive thinking time, stops the random nature of your worrying, protects your health, and helps you come up with an answer to your problems.
Without dedicated constructive thinking time, you’ll end up tired, potentially ill and still broke.
Here’s a simple Five Step Sequence for you to follow
Dedicated Thinking time
Get a piece of paper and write the days of the week…
Decide which days you are going to think about your finances and allocate a specific time.
Each time your money worries arrive, think no… I am going to think about that on X day and Y time.
Don’t spend any time worrying about money outside these times, it’s a discipline that your health depends on. As soon as you start to worry, think no, I am going to think about that on X day and Y time. You’ll soon start changing your worrying to thinking and your health will benefit from the shift.
The Exception: There’s one exception to this rule, and that’s if you are someone that wastes money. If you do that, then it is important to really worry and feel tense about your money problems, just when you’re about to over-spend. But more on that later.
Find the facts
Work out the exact state of your finances
At your first thinking session, you’ve got to find out the facts, however scary that might sound.
Without a diagnosis, the likelihood of finding a cure is slight.
Now some people may need more than one thinking session to find this out.
You’ll need to know what you owe, what you earn and how much you spend.
This could be on a weekly or monthly basis.
It may seem quite basic asking you to find out these simple numbers, but it’s amazing how many people, when they start to worry about money, quickly start to loose track of the details.
If you’re in that position you’re not alone.
Once you have the details you can move on to Step 3, and remember when you have finished each thinking session to book a new one, and stick to those times and dates to solve the problem.
Don’t worry about your money outside those times unless you need to control your spending.
And by the way, well done for reading this far…
Is it too much spending, debt or a lack of earning?
There are three main reasons people have money problems and it is important to work out which group you fall into. Let’s look at each group.
1. You have money worries because they spend too much money.
Perhaps you buy things to make yourself feel better, or as away to make yourself feel secure or important. Whatever the reason you over-spend, your money problems are based around spending too much money on unnecessary things. Giving yourself a problem and worries.
Some people over-spend to gain knowledge.
This is different from a spending on a college education or formal qualification. It’s often based around trying to make money or to feel more secure, filling the gap that there is something missing. It’s a common problem, that tricks us.
We live in an Information Age where we are emotionally driven to over-spend to gain security. It’s doesn’t matter how you justify this spending, if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it.
It doesn’t matter if you earn $10,000 or $1,000,000 if you spend more than you have or earn, regardless of what you buy, you have a problem and you’ll have money worries.
2. Your problems are based around historic debt.
In this case… “if you didn’t have to service your historic debt your income would match your spending and you wouldn’t have money worries.” There is a little more to this one, which we will cover later, but in it’s simplest form this is about too much debt, more than you can handle.
3. You don’t earn enough to meet your outgoings. Basically the amount you earn doesn’t cover the amount you have to spend each week or month. You may have debt, but it is based around not earning enough in the first place. There’s not overspending, there’s just not enough coming in.
Work out which group you fall into. Really think about it and be honest. If you’re not sure ask friends what they think, they may see things that you don’t, and the process may help them as well.
The Reality: Most people have a mixture of all three elements, but there is always one main starting point. Work out which one it is for you, and then move on to Step 4
And well done for still reading, at this stage it’s often getting uncomfortable.
Working on the problem
Once you have decided which is you main problem area, you have to start tackling the problem head on.
Look at the potential solutions.
1. Money worries because you spend too much money.
If you fall into this group there are lots of ways to build your confidence or deal with your emotions without spending. Mediation, relaxation techniques and various self-help courses.
Here’s a self-help course we really like all about creating flow and moving you away from stress and worry Click Here
Or here’s DIY way to tackle this sort of issue from the Webhealth team.
It’s simple, easy and all based around triggering a negative response to spending.
Here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Get an elastic band and put it around your left wrist.
Make sure it’s not too tight or interfering with the blood supply to your hand.
Step 2: Think about your finances, really get into the discomfort, pain and the worry.
You need to feel every emotion, stress and strain about being in trouble.
Just when you are at the peak of your emotions, snap the elastic band against you wrist.
Repeat this until the emotions are associated with the snap of the elastic band.
The snap of the elastic band will now be linked to the horrible emotions and worry.
Step 3: Each time you are about to spend some money on an unnecessary item, however important or desirable it feels at the time, pause before you take out your card, take a breath and snap the band. Then wait a minute and still see if you want to buy it.
If your over-spending is related to gaining knowledge: Set yourself a monthly limit, something you can afford and Never Ever go over that amount. Perhaps set up a special Knowledge Account.
2. Problems based around historic debt.
It’s important if you do have historic debt that you can’t service to work out ‘why you have that debt in the first place.’ If it is based around over-spending, then your problems are still in group 1, and if it because you don’t earn enough, you are in the next group as your primary problem.
Either way around you have to clear the debt to get yourself out of trouble.
But if it is based around over spending you are going to have to tackle that too.
To do that just follow the advice above, it’s simple and it works.
There are a number of ways to reduce debt.
The two most common are Snowballing and Highest Interest First.
Here is a discussion about them both on The Simple Dollar blog by Trent Hamm
Trent Hamm also has a well respected book:
The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams
Which you can buy for as little as $8.95 on Amazon.
This and his blog will talk you through reducing debt in a way that suits you.
Remember though to tackle the root problem of your debt as well
3. You don’t earn enough to meet your outgoings.
Can I ask you a question?
Would Mo Farah, the long distance runner be wealthy if he competed in the 100 meter sprint? Wealthy by running…
The answer to that question has to be, no…
He’d hardly earn any money, because he’d constantly lose in the races that mattered.
The reason he is successful and wealthy is that he is playing to his strengths, doing what he does best. Based around where his natural skills and talents lie. He’s a long distance runner.
Sure he has to train long hours, work and push himself to incredible limits, but he does it in an area where he is a natural and can shine. That’s the key.
I know it’s not always easy…
There are industries that don’t pay well, you may just be starting out or working in the only job you can get, but the reality is people earn more by playing to there strengths.
“who you are and what you do.”
You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses and then make sure your in a job, role or business suits you. Without that alignment based on who you are, your work will be a stress and a strain and you’re highly unlikely to earn what you’re worth.
It’s that simple.
To help you through the next stage…
Here’s access to a completely free tool that will tell you…why you’re so valuable to others, what your challenges are and how you can find your ideal role.
All based on ancient Chinese wisdom. CLICK HERE
This profiling tool provided at no charge by the Five Institute.
It was originally designed for entrepreneurs but it is equally useful if you’re thinking of moving out of paid employment or you just need to earn some extra money, earning it in a way that suits you.