6 Destructive Thoughts That Keep You In Financial Stress (And What to Do About It)

 
You know the feeling. Your bills are out of control, you don’t have enough income and there’s no end in sight. You feel desperate, afraid, and full of shame. What would your friends and family think if they knew? What if you have to declare bankruptcy? Would your job be on the line? How about your relationships or your marriage?

And then there’s the anxiety, the sleepless nights. The arguments with your partner or spouse, the blame, the feelings of helplessness and despair. Plenty enough to make you cry, almost every day.

You find lots of help online but can you trust it? It’s tough to know, and deciding only adds more stress especially when the “help” may be bogus and cost money you don’t have.

You feel like you’ve been shoved out of a warm house onto a cold street with the door firmly locked behind you.

The good news is, even if things get really bad and you have to declare bankruptcy, there is hope, lots of it.

Start by eliminating just one of these six destructive thoughts. Then move on to demolish the next one. You’ll be amazed at how different you feel and how the money starts flowing in.

You believe you are well and truly stuck.

Guess what? Rich or poor you are not your finances. If you believe lack of money keeps you stuck, if that’s all you think about and agonize about, then you are, for sure, well and truly stuck. But you don’t have to be.

Why not decide you are someone who is fun and innovative or spontaneous and happy rather than depressed and broke?

Pick some new thoughts about yourself and try them on like shopping for new clothes. Wear a different thought every day and notice how you feel. How does someone who is fun and innovative look? Do you hold your head higher? Are your eyes brighter? Are you happier?

Pick the ones that feel the best and use them to remind yourself of who you really are whenever you start to slip into money stress.

Like putting on new clothes, they may feel funny at first, but say them often enough and they start to fit. Imagine the compliments you’ll get from friends, family and the people at work as they admire the new you.

You confuse the present with the past and the future.

Dwelling on the money decisions and events that caused your current situation keep you glued in place.

Do you stress about how you maxed out your credit cards until you couldn’t make even the minimum payments on such a huge mountain of debt?

Or perhaps you lose sleep over overwhelming medical bills or an adjustable rate mortgage with a monthly payment that just increased when your interest rate went up.

Whatever the cause, agonizing about the past and stressing about the future only add to your present day (or night) stress. Worse yet, it attracts more of the same. After all, who wants to work with, hang out with, or do business with someone who’s always stressed out?

It’s your thoughts that put your income and your relationships at risk. And the good news is, you can change your thoughts.

Why not think about what is good about your life right now. Do you have a roof over your head, enough to eat, children and/or a spouse or partner you love? How about adorable pets, fun hobbies or an entire week of beautiful weather?

When you change your thoughts your options expand. Your boss notices your positive attitude and gives you a promotion. Your customers suddenly decide they can’t live without your products or services. Your family and friends stop avoiding you and offer to help out with bills or rides to the doctor or yard work. What have you got to lose?

You forget to breathe.

When you feel stressed or afraid your breathing becomes shallow and you take fewer breaths. You feel stuck and anxious.

Stress is almost always due to agonizing about the past (how could I have been so stupid?) or fearing the future (what if I can’t pay my mortgage next month?). In other words, stress takes you out of the present and plunges you into an illusory place that’s long gone or not here yet.

You can begin to breathe more deeply by focusing on your breath. And this automatically takes you out of worries about the past and anxiety about the future and puts you back into the present moment where you are stress free. You can only experience and deepen your breath in the present moment. (Try breathing in the past or the future — I dare you)

Notice how your body starts to relax when you breathe more deeply and take more breaths. The anxiety and fear fade away leaving you with a clear brain. Why not stay here, in the present, so you can reset and refocus on what is good about your life right now?

You push money away.

I have noticed when I tell myself I “need money,” it’s a sign I am impatient, frustrated and looking for a quick fix. I am stressed from telling myself I need something I don’t have. Sound familiar?

That mindset almost always leads to bad decisions. You go to the web and look for quick ways to make money online. After all, plenty of other people have done it, why not you?

You start believing the hype and decide to invest what’s left of your savings (or the credit on the only card you have that is not totally maxed out) in a “sure-fire way” to make money with no selling.

Or maybe you complain more about how broke you are and how life isn’t fair. You wish you had a part-time job or a better paying job to bring in some extra cash but can’t seem to find the energy to look for one.

Soon enough you find your neediness only brings more financial heartbreak as you run out of credit and your friends turn away, tired of your stories.

Better idea: relax, focus on your breath, and remember all that’s good in your world. Then notice how you get some genuine great ideas and how your options begin to expand.

You believe it’s not your fault.

You blame your spouse or partner, your creditors, your boss, your stingy friends and family members who refuse to help you one more time, and anyone or anything else you can think of (the economy, politicians, your next door neighbor, your pet llama) for your financial mistakes.

Try letting go of the blame if just for a moment or two. Notice the energy you have and how much clearer your thoughts are. You feel like your brain has returned.

And it has. Without the distraction of blame, your brain can be creative again.

You can brainstorm genuine, well thought-out and creative alternatives for your financial situation. You seek help from people who give you good advice. You make better decisions. You stay in the present because you remember to breathe.

Now you have new ways to bring income, savings and investments into your life.

Imagine your life free from money stress

Imagine your life when you aren’t constantly thinking about, agonizing over and stressing about money.

Imagine taking friends and family out to a fancy restaurant and paying cash when you pick up the tab.

Imagine how much happier you are and how much energy you have for whatever you love to do.

Imagine how relaxed you are and how much better you feel with more income and more savings.

Make a decision to release these six destructive thoughts one at a time. You’ll be out of financial difficulty before you know it.

Photo credit: Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash

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