Finding Happiness Through Rewriting Your Money Story

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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I know I’m not alone in being stressed out about money sometimes. The American Psychological Association (APA) published a survey in 2015 that showed that money is the #1 stressor for most Americans, with 64% reporting that it is a source of stress in their lives.

Does money cause you anxiety at times? And how do you cope with that stress?

Unfortunately, the APA said many people use unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress over money, including turning to food, alcohol, watching hours of TV a day, or making ourselves feel better temporarily through “retail therapy,” which naturally just causes us even more stress!

It’s a vicious cycle for many Americans, and one that I have lived in myself sometimes. Stressed by not having what we feel is enough money, we sometimes go out and spend money that we don’t really have, thus incurring large amounts of credit card debt.

Unfortunately this debt will not just go away on its own. And we need to find ways to make our lives feel more abundant even when money is a stressor.

I am practicing ways to find more happiness even when my financial situation feels stressful, and wanted to share these. Generating a feeling of more abundance can actually help more money to flow into our lives.

1. Getting Real About Money

For me at least, one of the ways I have always been able to ease my anxiety around money is to be sure I have a clear accounting of what is coming in, what is going out, and what will be due in the future. I have a monthly budget, although I am not yet perfect at sticking to it – I am working on improving that!

But today I sat down and reviewed all my bills, got clear on how much I owe to whom and when it’s due, and made sure that is all mapped out so I know what to expect and can breathe easier.

There have been times in the past when I tried the “bury your head in the sand” approach and when it comes to money, it doesn’t help for sure! I feel much better at least knowing what’s going out, what’s coming in and if there is any gap that I need to address then I can at least plan ahead and figure out how to handle it.

Rewriting Our Money Story

I don’t know about you, but I grew up with certain stories and beliefs about money. Being raised as a liberal progressive, and in a family that didn’t have a lot of money when I was a little girl, I came to have negative associations around money.

I thought being rich meant you were greedy, an oil-monger, a Republican, which when I was a kid seemed like a terrible thing. Somehow it seemed me spiritual, saintly and in alignment with progressive values to not have money.

I have replaced that with a new story over the years, because I know many people who are wealthy, who worked hard to earn their money and use it to create positive change in the world. I no longer believe it isn’t “spiritual” to make money, and that in fact it is detrimental to our spiritual path and well-being if we are constantly struggling with money.

I now believe that it is spiritual, and in alignment with my highest and best destiny, to generate great abundance, so that I have plenty to share with the world as well. It feels much better to honor my own ability to make money and to enjoy growing my wealth, so that I may also give back more to charities and causes that matter to me.

And, I want to be able to help provide beautiful experiences for myself and people I love, and to help others in need when I can. I feel much more in alignment with my goals and dreams when money is flowing in more easily and when I know that I can give back in the world when I choose.


Finding Fun and Creative Ways to Generate More Abundance

Periodically I do a fun exercise and write down 100 creative ways to generate more money. This could look like lining up belly dancing performances, since I do that professionally, or selling stuff that I have and no longer use, or lining up a paid public speaking engagement.

I sit down and brainstorm all the fun ways that I can think of to make more money, knowing that there really are always infinite possibilities, and that limitations for the most part are a construct of the mind.

Being in Action Which Brings Us More Energy!

When I am stressed out, I often find that it really helps to identify and take concrete action in order to move myself forward. Just staying stuck in worrying never really helps.

If you are stressed about finances, can you identify a few concrete action steps you can take today, whether it is calling a credit card company to try to negotiate a lower interest rate or lower minimum monthly payment, or calling someone who owes you money to collect on that debt, or just updating your budget to be sure you know what is going in and out?

Having clarity around money helps me to feel in control of the situation again so that I’m not just hanging out feeling stressed out.

Counting Our Blessings Daily

Especially when we feel stressed about money, I think it can be easy to forget to count the many blessings that we do have. We forget to be grateful that we have our health, working limbs, food and shelter, clean water to drink.

Not everyone has these blessings, and I like to remind myself as often as possible to be in gratitude for what I do have! I find that when we stay in gratitude for what we have, the universe often rewards us with more abundance.

Cherishing What Money Cannot Buy

I also like to remind myself at times when money feels tight that the best things in the world are what money can’t buy. Love, laughter, joy, good memories made with family and friends, the beauty of nature there for us to enjoy – all of it is free.

Doing the Work to Create Abundance and Flow

I am ready to build my business and grow my income. I’ve been working on drawing up business plans for the next quarter, and deciding what I need to focus on in order for my revenue to grow.

Now it is just a matter of staying focused on my goals and taking consistent action. Steady progress and small steps over time add up to us being able to create what we dream of, and we just need to stay in action.

Understanding Your Why When Generating Abundance

My amazing money coach, Jeanne Boschert, helped me to have a real epiphany recently around the way I handle money. I was talking about the discipline I have when it comes to my health and diet.

I eat a vegan and gluten-free diet, rarely drink alcohol and exercise just about daily. I meditate and practice yoga daily each morning as well.

I take amazing care of my health because I want to live a long, happy, healthy life, and I know that this body is the only one I get in this lifetime. Jeanne pointed out that I have to have a reason, a big “why,” for why getting my finances in shape and generating more money matters.

So this is the why: I want to be able to share beautiful global travel experiences with the family I will build. I want to be able to give back and support charities that I believe in.

I want to be a good steward of the resources I have been given, and that includes money. And I want to help as many people as possible, using my gifts and talents to convey a message of love to the world.

The  more people I help, the more I believe I will generate abundance in my own life. I plan to give more and know I will receive more!

Making Money Your Friend! 

What can you do today to make your relationship with money feel a little bit happier and healthier? Go take care of that now. Remember that money is energy but we have to believe that we deserve it and have a healthy relationship with it to help it flow.