I worry about money a lot, even though I live in a lovely house, drive a new car, wear nice clothes and go on holiday twice a year. I’m still wedded to money worries.
Last week was National Student Money Week (NSMW) and the theme this year was “Student, Money and Mental Health”. In line with this theme, NASMA launched a survey to find out about students and their relationship to money and mental health and how the two are often closely linked. It also asked students to provide their top tips on managing money and their mental health. Survey results can be found here.
Money worries can suck your energy
32% of students said that their financial worries were substantially impacting their ability to cope with academic pressures. So the outcome of these financial worries could mean that students fail their degree. What a waste!
I’ve been reflecting on my own relationship to money and found Rick Tamlyn’s The Bigger Game really insightful. The Bigger Game offers a philosophy and methodology for finding and releasing the full expression of your purpose and talents. It’s made up of 9 themes that can help you play a Bigger Game in your life.
Comfort zones (top left hand corner) is the theme I want to look at regarding worrying about money. Rick talks about us all having comfort zones, which are essentially our default behaviour. He says we are hardwired to have routines and habitual ways of doing and thinking. These comfort zones are not necessarily comfortable but they are familiar. We have comfort zones of action such as tooth brushing, TV watching, social media checking and comfort zones of thinking such as “I can, I can’t, why bother, I don’t have enough money”. Some serve us and some don’t. He says all come with costs and payoffs.
I’ve realised that I have a comfort zone of worrying about money and that it doesn’t serve me. The costs are that it makes me feel anxious, keeps me small and less likely to “put myself out there”. The irony is that if I did “put myself out there”, I would have more opportunities to bring in more money.
But what is the payoff for staying in this habitual way of thinking?
I guess by worrying about money, I don’t put myself out there, so I’m “safe” from potential failure and criticism and someone else can take responsibility. Mad isn’t it?
What comfort zones are you stuck in?
Rick explains that some of these comfort zones are limiting us from playing our “Bigger Game”, so we have to leave them to become “players”. But before you can choose to leave something, you have to know that it exists. We can become accustomed to them, we think it’s “just the way things are”. He advocates choosing discomfort for the sake of the Bigger Game, not an absence of fear but stepping out in spite of it.
He suggests that we are at our best when we are most creative, inspired and powerful; when we are going after something we‘ve never done before and don’t know how to do it. That’s when we grow but “our comfort zones exert a ferocious tug on us.”
Come out of the comfort zones. Play a Bigger Game
I came across the word Pronoia (the opposite of paranoia) in an article in The Stylist – Year of You. It’s a term used to describe a belief that the world is secretly conspiring to help – not hinder – us. Rachel Kelly, mental health campaigner says ,”pronoia focuses your mind on events that have gone in your favour”. So instead of ranting about your alarm clock not going off, you celebrate the bus that came early because fate was trying to intervene to get you to work on time.
For a while I’ve been practising this around my money thinking. When I catch myself complaining that I don’t have enough money, I celebrate the great car I drive or the beautiful house I live in.
Every morning I say the following affirmation, “the world is for me, not against me” and through this I am learning to trust in the goodness of life. Affirmations are positive self-statements, if repeated over time, are presumed to convince the individual that the statements are true and by extension boost the individual’s self-esteem. For an interesting review by Psychology Today, see this link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201305/do-self-affirmations-work-revisit
Every evening I write down five things I appreciated about that day and why, through this I get a better sense of the reality of my life. According to Psychology Today, gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has – as opposed to, for example a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants. Studies show that we can cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so.
So these days, it’s the tools and techniques above that are helping me with my money worrying, changing my thinking and helping me to play a bigger game. I use these alongside practical money management tips, see the article below “Money on My Mind”.
Module 7 of our MTG Signature Programme focuses on Millennial Money and the doors are now open!
Contact me to find out more about the ten week programme or one to one coaching to play a bigger game.