Mental health and mindfulness are super trendy topics of discussion right now. It’s all about being engaged, focused on the present moment, free of distraction, open-minded and calmly aware of one’s feelings and thoughts.
Despite common belief, mindfulness isn’t just for Tibetan monks and eccentric celebrities. In fact, it can help every Tom, Dick and Harry to prepare themselves for life’s financial lemons, because no matter how ready you are for those lemons, or where you sit on the continuum of ‘enough money’, the rollercoaster of life can take its toll.
So what on earth is financial mindfulness?
Being financially mindful involves compartmentalising financial decisions. It involves focusing on the present, isolating your money worries and dealing with them one at a time. Mindfulness helps us to eliminate confusion, relieve stress, make rational trade-offs and set realistic goals. It’s not about ignoring the future. It’s about controlling the present to set yourself in good stead.
29% of us have no savings or investments whatsoever.
We’ve all been treading on financial eggshells since the crisis. The number of us reporting money troubles has doubled in the last decade. Many of us are in a black hole of debt, 48% of us don’t put any money aside for anything other than regular bills and 29% of us have no savings or investments whatsoever.* It’s all a bit scary, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, this could well be a major factor contributing to the UK’s relatively low productivity output. At just 27%, it is lower than the other major economic players we compete with, despite economic growth and growing employment.
What’s the link between financial worries and productivity?
Stress. When we start to feel that we are losing grip on a certain aspect of our lives, we become stressed. Our heads fill to the brim with worries and concerns and our ability to focus on the task in hand becomes impaired. Before we know it, we’re ripping apart stress balls and going for tea breaks every ten minutes to run away from the situation. Now, that’s not productive.
Could this all be solved if we were all a little more ‘zen’ with our money?
Taking some time to be mindful about our finances can help us find the power to regain control. It can help us to focus and seek effective solutions to our problems. When we feel less stressed, we’re more engaged and more productive at work. That’s the idea, anyway.
Talk to me, guru, how do we do it?
Stress doesn’t just make us feel like an emotional wreck, but it can exacerbate just about every health condition you can think of. Not only do you need an awareness of your bank balance, but you also need to be able to identify your relationship with money and recognise when financial worries are starting to impact your overall health.
2. Identify the root of the worry
Identifying the cause of the worry at the source will help you to really understand it. From there, you can decipher the changes that need to be made with a clear vision.
In today’s modern world, it’s far too easy to fall into the trap of multi-tasking, of trying to make a million important decisions at once. But guess what? That doesn’t work. Isolate each decision and consider it independently of others. This will help you to rationalise and make decisions that will benefit your financial future.
When it comes to finances, no ‘one plan fits all’. It just doesn’t work like that. What you need to do is to understand the path that is right for you, build yourself a stable financial structure, and set yourself realistic objectives.
This blog was written in partnership with Neyber, one of our new financial wellbeing partners, who offer low interest loans and make saving easier. If you’d like to find out more please click here.
*Stats taken from ‘Working Well’ Report – Social Marketing Foundation/Neyber (2016) http://www.smf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Working-Well-How-employers-can-improve-the-wellbeing-and-productivity-of-their-workforce.pdf