Money, stress and anxiety

17 Aug

Money, stress and anxiety

Many people feel unhappy when they think about money. It’s an uncomfortable subject as, let’s face it, even billionaires don’t have enough. If they don’t have enough, what hope do we have?

Most adults have had times when they felt anxiety regarding financial issues. Sometimes its because they can’t pay their debts. Maybe its because they can’t afford to educate their kids as they’d like? Or maybe their job or business feels at threat.

I don’t mind sharing the feeling I had when my daughter (our 2nd child) first went to daycare. Not only was there emotions in the house about our dear child being looked after by strangers, but it was shocking to realise that my wife’s part-time job provided almost dollar for dollar, the exact same income as the daycare fees. Our immediate (incorrect) conclusion; our annual profit from a year of my wife’s hard labour would be no more than the cost of a weekend away! The shock turned to anger, a bit of fear and a fair amount of frustration.

Our reaction was silly though. We were focussing on what we couldn’t have rather than what we were buying with that money. We were feeling trapped when we were in complete control of our decisions and we were focussing in on the two numbers because they happened to be at the centre of our gaze. Eventually we widened our gaze, thought about the overall position differently, reconciled our decisions in line with our values and then got on with life.

So what is it that keeps you up at night? Maybe you’re contemplating a change in your income? Maybe increased debts? Maybe you’re worried about investment markets or your health?

Let me assure you, the silent majority often find themselves awake at 3am with a million thoughts running through their mind. What’s more, they hesitate to talk about it for fear of being judged or maybe admitting weakness.

The beautiful thing about all of this is that stress is our internal reaction to the situation at hand. When you realise its an internal reaction then there’s some good news. It means you’re in charge of it.

It’s normal to be stressed or flustered by a situation you encounter for the first time (think public speaking or corporate retirement) but, like anything, add a bit of experience and all of the sudden you’re much more relaxed.

Sometimes all you need to do is chat with someone who’s been there and done that. Understanding can make all the difference.

Before I finish, please let’s recognise that stress, fear and anxiety can get quite intense for many people, far beyond what they can personally cope with. People blessed with friends, family and other networks will often cope better than those more isolated. The Australian “she’ll be right” attitude often isn’t helpful….

We’re at our best when we can both offer and accept a helping hand.

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