How To Rewire Your Brain To Take Control Of Financial Stress

Heal money stress

There are few things that cause more stressanxiety and sleepless nights than money. Yet, most of us don’t question why money is such a charged topic. I mean, it’s pretty simple, right? You’re either happy if you have money… or miserable if you don’t. 

I once saw a documentary about a fisherman living on an island in the Caribbean. He caught just enough fish every day to feed his family and provide the bare essentials. Yet, he had a big smile on his face and looked genuinely happy. I remember thinking – this guy must be crazy…he’s missing out on so much in life. But… maybe he had something right?

Now, I’m not suggesting that you quit your job tomorrow and hop on a plane to the Caribbean. But, it became powerfully clear that we have more control over our relationship with money than we think. Understanding our attitudes towards money can help break through damaging habitsheal our relationships and even heal trauma

There are two useful concepts underlying our values regarding money: our money story and our money personality

Your money story is your personal narrative around money built up over your lifetime. It could be your parents’ attitude towards money, that toy you didn’t get as a kid or having to live off Ramen noodles in college. All of these events contributed to a mental storyline that we relive over and over throughout our lives.

Your money story shapes your money personality which categorizes your behaviors and thoughts about money. According to research at Kansas State University, there are four money personality types:

  • Money worship – people with this personality type believe that money will solve their issues and that you can never have enough money. If you fit this personality, you may end up overspending or building up debt.
  • Money avoidance – people who believe that money is bad and they shouldn’t have it. If this is your personality then you may end up avoiding thinking or talking about money, including giving away money as you might think you don’t deserve it.
  • Money vigilance – people who are super frugal and believe in saving. If you have this personality, you may be secretive about money and avoid discussing it with others.
  • Money status – people who believe that the more money they have, the higher their worth. If you have this personality, you may strive to earn more.

So now that you know your money personality, how do you tackle your financial stress and heal your relationship with money? The first step is to realize that it’s not your fault. The circumstances that formed your money personality were outside of your control. So, go easy on yourself and don’t beat yourself up.

You’ll also want to start keeping track of your habits and beliefs around money. It’s worth keeping a dedicated money journal for this. You can use it to link your beliefs to events that happened earlier in your life. Did the younger you grow up poor, always having scarcity around money? The adult you can now make a choice and let that belief go. Using acceptance and kindness, you can rewrite your money story.

For more tips on identifying your money personality, check out this article (5 minute read).

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