If you are freaking out over money ....



  • When people freak out about money, they experience an intense negative emotion that is perfectly natural. But there are dangers in sitting in this emotion for too long.

    Having a financial freak-out is bad for us on so many levels. First, as with any intense experience of stress, our health can suffer. When you sustain a state of constant worry and anxiety over money, or something else, you experience moments of real panic that are simply not good for your body. Second, other areas of your life can suffer. For example, money conflicts are usually cited as the number-one reason couples argue and split up, illustrating how the negative effects of financial freak-outs can spread. Third, and perhaps most damaging, financial freak-outs are usually a kind of emotional quicksand, wherein the more we struggle, the worse we feel. Unfortunately, as we keep descending to new lows of negative emotion, we're increasingly less able to solve the problems we face. This state of mind becomes a vicious circle, one in which our thinking becomes cloudier, even distorted, and our choices don't come from our wisest, most grounded thinking. Changing your attitude can offer the kind of lifeline you need to emerge from the 'quicksand' and move toward stable and positive emotional ground. You can move from fear and panic to optimism and hope. Being optimistic is so important.

    One of the key concepts in gaining abundance is willingness, the willingness to guide yourself from negative to positive emotions. When people try the "fake it 'til you make it" method when they're starting from a place of feeling genuinely afraid and panicked, this technique often backfires. So, you must become open and willing to let go of some negative emotion, and to climb step-by-step up an emotional scale. When we're in the middle of a freak-out, we have to first reach a state of non-panic, moving toward steadier, calmer thoughts until we can approach something neutral, a place where we can feel grounded and centered and reconnect to our wiser selves. From that place, we can then 'open the door' and allow a little optimism and hope to shine on our situation. That really is the turning point. The moment where we can look at the situation with just a nugget of optimism and hope - when we're suddenly able to turn things around in the physical world. Until we reach that point, if we're consumed with panic, worry, or other clouds of doom and gloom, the solutions we seek will usually stay out of reach. In fact, it's usually an inverse relationship in that the more desperate we are, the more things worsen. Once we allow a glimmer of optimism into our perspective, it can be like finally getting the Wi-Fi passcode right. Suddenly, the universe can open up to us with amazing, unimagined possibilities.

    Another lesson to learn is about moving from guilt and shame to confidence. Guilt and shame can actually trick us. When we experience intense guilt and shame during a financial freak-out, those emotions do not help us move forward. Instead, they keep us stuck. The experience is tricky because it may seem like we're taking responsibility because we feel terrible, but typically we wallow in these emotions and beat ourselves up instead of addressing what needs addressing and taking corrective measures. It's like the old proverb about crying over spilled milk. The milk (or the money or opportunity) has been wasted or lost. There's nothing to do about it except clean up the mess, learn whatever there is to learn from the experience, and move forward with greater awareness.

    Guilt and shame prefer that we spend inappropriate, even endless amounts of time lamenting our losses and feeling awful about our so-called "failures" which are really just life lessons that we all must learn. If we define ourselves by our ability to learn and grow, failures are simply an organic and unavoidable part of the process. Most job interviews, and even the most prestigious business schools, ask you to discuss your greatest failures and what you learned from them. It's not a question to stimulate guilt but an opportunity to showcase your growth. So if guilt and shame are rooted in truly taking responsibility for a problem, they can be powerful springboards toward solutions, but not if you wallow in them. Then they become swamp lands of negative emotion, keeping you trapped with their tricks.

    When you really really want something, it is really hard to surrender and let go, to learn to trust the universe to provide for you. Most of us were raised with a lot of well-intentioned warnings about life: "Look both ways before you cross the street," "money doesn't grow on trees," "Certain people just can't be trusted," etc. These messages were explicitly reinforced and are at the heart of the widespread advertising that surrounds us. Our fears, most often about scarcity, are exploited to sell us things. Turning on the TV at any moment, we're bombarded by endless variations of messages like "Terrible things will happen if you don't XYZ." We're constantly being told how unsafe our lives are, a sentiment reinforced by news outlets that focus 99 percent of their attention on disasters and tragedies. Fortunately, as adults, we have the power to choose our focuses and strengthen our "trust muscles" without being irrational or naive. The more you develop the ability to trust, the more the universe will demonstrate that your belief that life and spirit has your back is well-founded. That's because trust isn't quite the same as blind faith. It's knowing on a deep level that something is reliable and true and can be safely counted on to support you.

    Yet as humans, we tend to unconsciously choose struggle over ease. We do it for many reasons, but the most fundamental one is that we're simply programmed that way biologically to survive in the world. The cave people who survived were the ones with their eyes most actively on the lookout for the tigers! Simply put, we're basically hardwired to be on guard against danger as part of our survival mechanism. Even now, we still hear that "it's a jungle out there" regarding the job market - even if the tigers are of the corporate variety. Our culture reinforces this by placing a disproportionately high value on struggle. Whether that's working our way up through the ranks at the office or trying to make a name for ourselves in another competitive market or even in military service, it's instilled in us early on that struggle is not only necessary, it defines our moral character.

    Interestingly, one consequence of this is that people tend to undervalue the things that come easily, often effortlessly for them. Since there's little to no struggle involved, they mistakenly think that means they don't deserve full credit - or payment - for the talents that are right at their fingertips. Struggle can be a particularly tricky issue because obviously not all challenges are inherently bad. We definitely want to grow through our experience of life, yet it's possible to do it in positive ways that stretch us without causing unnecessary anxiety or suffering during the process.

    You need to uncover and expose any negative beliefs you have around money, any specific negative emotion or concept - ranging from overcoming panic to feeling unworthy to living with a mind-set of lack - and the long-standing thoughts that reinforce that thinking. Sometimes it's helpful to understand where those beliefs came from, but it's more important to be willing to transform them into ones that serve and support the abundant life we want to live. It's through first attaining a soulful understanding that we can then shift anything in our lives.

    Positive meditations or affirmations can serve to allow us to withdraw from the intensity of our financial freak-out to experience an oasis of calm through breath awareness and visualization. They exemplify a sort of "financial oxygen mask." Meditation and relaxation can have the power to center and calm you during those intense moments when you feel like everything around you is about to crash into oblivion. Also, meditation offers prompts an encouragement for your inner guidance to emerge and can expose outdated thinking and stimulate new beliefs. Lasting, deep changes must come not only from allowing your panic to dissipate but from shifting the thinking that caused it in the first place. Journaling can also help clear deeper layers of belief as it will show you the (negative) thoughts that you may not have realized you are thinking on a daily basis.

    Even though a financial freak-out seems like a natural and unavoidable response to a crisis, it's never the answer to your problems. Your best strategy is to get calm, centered, and grounded, then shift away from the beliefs that got you into whatever situation you're facing. Ultimately, the most powerful way to solve any financial freak-out isn't through obtaining more money, but by transforming your beliefs to ones that truly empower your most abundant life.

    Article by Madisyn Taylor and Edward Vilga



  • @thecaptain
    ty for sharing this article.