I started a mindfulness practice during lockdown. I’m not (at least not yet) a meditation evangelist. For a start, switching off, doing nothing and being in the present moment is actually much harder than it sounds. I’m also sure there are many people for whom it makes little difference to their sense of wellbeing. But there’s plenty of evidence to show that mindfulness is effective, and I for one am starting to find it helpful.

As a financial journalist and educator, I’m especially keen to discover what mindfulness can teach us about personal finance. I was particularly interested, then, in the latest episode of the Headspace Radio podcast with Samantha Snowden. This particular episode explores the way we can often feel stuck in our relationship with money.

 

Learning from others 

“We may have inherited our financial habits from our parents or caregivers,” says Snowden. “But we’re not stuck with them.

“The fact is that we can look at our relationship with things from somebody else’s point of view. We can ask ourselves: How would they see this?”

She then goes on to talk about her mother, who, she says, has an “exceptionally great relationship to money”. A good example is the way her mum approaches the task of paying bills.

 

Practising gratitude

“Since I can remember, she’s always made a ritual out of (it). She wraps a big red ribbon around her stack of bills, she lights a candle, and takes her time to write cheques, while appreciating all of the services and things she gets to have. 

“She’s grateful for the ability to pay for the electricity, the water and insurance, and she acknowledges the value that these resources add to her life.”

This really struck a chord with me. Like most people, I tend to worry far more than I should and, in the past, money was a source of stress. I used to fret about mounting bills and consequently resented paying them.

 

The bigger picture

Samantha Snowden’s mum is certainly onto something with the way she deals with bills. In our hectic modern lives, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. We forget how, compared to previous generations and indeed most of the global population today, we are extremely fortunate to lead the comfortable lives we do.

Taking time to remember that, and be grateful for it, is extremely valuable. It can also put any financial anxieties we might have into proper perspective.

“Even when we didn’t have a lot of money,” Snowden goes on, “my mother never let us feel the anxiety over our financial situation. Instead of being possessive with money, she felt that it belonged to everyone. 

 

Living with integrity and generosity

“When I feel bitter about paying bills or anxiety about not having enough, I often think of my mum and her sense of optimism, that everything will work out as long as we’re living with integrity and generosity.”

So, are you stuck in a less than healthy relationship with money? Does it make you feel anxious or possessive? And are you passing on those thoughts and feelings to those around you?

If so, it’s time to examine where those thoughts and feelings come from — and how a more mindful approach might help you to see money in a much more positive light. 

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Picture: Tayler Franta via Unsplash

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