Business and financial stress is real and felt in the body and mind whether we find ourselves unable to make payments on outstanding debt, under pressure to realize greater profit or financial gains, or reeling from personal hardship or business-related stresses. Financial stress, like all stress, is measured by the person experiencing it.
Question Your Stress
Developing mindfulness and deepening awareness of our feelings, emotions, and their source is a good place to begin. “Stress” is a commonly used moniker, but where does it come from? We don’t all respond in the same way to the same bank account tally. It may be that our stress is a result of fear, anxiety, desire, or something else.
Sometimes, by looking at stress head-on and wondering where it’s coming from, we find that concerns about money are nothing more than a convenient scapegoat for underlying fears, anxiety or emotions. Whether or not our financial concern is real, by taking positive action, we begin to feel better about our situation. The question is; are we dealing with our stress in a constructive way?
Assess Your Current Coping Style
When we are stressed about money, we are less likely to spend money or time on self-care. Our stress may have caused us to drop the exercise routine, opt for unhealthy fast food meals, or avoid social dates and time with loved ones. We may be spending longer hours in the office, whether trying to catch up, or trapped in a cycle of always needing more.
Avoidance can look like working too much, staying busy, or escaping through the use of drugs or alcohol. We may be hesitant to talk about our financial concerns with co-workers, family, or friends. If this is the case, the methods we’re using to ease our stress are likely making matters worse.
Take Positive Action
While it’s tempting to ignore the numbers, a review of your current spending habits is a good place to start. Assessing the current state of affairs shows us where we are spending unnecessarily, what could be reduced, and which bills could be paid off. We can clearly see how funds could be set aside for emergencies, retirement, or reduction of debt. After a thorough review, create a new budget and stay with it.
Stop comparing yourself to others – take a pause on social media if you need to. Remember, that what we notice on the surface about others never gives us the full picture. It’s quite possible that someone looks at your life with envy too. In the workplace, be of service to your coworkers, intentionally squelching feelings of competition. Even the smallest acts of holding open a door or saying hello can have a positive effect on you as well as others.
Practice Gratitude. Write down a daily list of what is going well in your life. Take note of every small success in the workplace, every contribution to your savings plan, and each small bill that’s been paid off. Equally, take note of the roof over your head, the food on your table, and the clothes on your back. Practice gratitude for the loved ones in your life and remember what’s most important.
Drop shame by asking for help when you need it. Financial stress can be lonely, and to further isolate yourself only increases feelings of helplessness. Speak with a financial planner, take a class or become more educated about money matters, such as saving for retirement, investing, or creating a more meaningful budget. Talk to a business coach, co-worker, or supervisor who you can trust. Sometimes the action of sharing alone reduces the size of our stress.
Finding help may have little to do with your finances and look more like therapy, exercise, meditation or rehab. Ultimately, financial worry has nothing to do with a profit and loss statement or the numbers in the bank account, and everything to do with how we cope with the information at hand. If it’s better coping skills that you need, at The Dunes East Hampton, we’re here to help.