The word “mindfulness” is self-explanatory and vague at the same time; of course, it involves the mind, but how exactly does someone practice mindfulness? Though a specific definition or illustration is hard to pin down, mindfulness, at its core, is simply the practice of being aware of your thoughts, emotions, or experiences in the present moment. Mindfulness can have a positive effect on almost all areas of your life including your finances. By implementing mindfulness into your daily life, you can beat bad financial habits and get closer to your money goals.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that incorporates focusing on your breath, staying present, and not letting your mind wander. Though certain aspects of mindfulness may resemble a pseudoscience, its benefits have been proven and documented. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University analyzed 19,000 meditation studies and found mindfulness meditation can improve anxiety, depression, and pain. It can also promote a better work ethic, increase productivity, sharpen listening skills, improve sleep, and improve financial habits. When practicing mindfulness, you take note of your thoughts nonjudgmentally. You acknowledge your behavior for what it is. The more you learn to simply watch your behavior, the more intention you naturally put into your choices. Your choices and thoughts will come to reflect what’s important to you simply because rather than hectically moving from one task to another, you’re staying present and actually taking the time to be aware.
You can easily apply the practice of mindfulness to your financial thoughts, experiences, and decision-making. By being mindful, you can identify your financial goals and set intentions for how to achieve those goals. Living in the present will create a better path to meet your future financial needs and obligations. For example, if you spend too much money on things you don’t need, staying focused on your intentions at the store can help prevent you from grabbing those impulse purchases at the checkout line. Similarly, when you stay in the present, you don’t worry about your past financial failures or live in fear of the future. If you’re in debt, rather than giving up or worrying about how much interest will accrue, if you’re being mindful, you focus on the present problem and address it— maybe by paying off the loan with the highest interest first. Being mindful about your finances means choosing the path that most positively impacts your life and the lives of others today.
Though being mindful means being in the present, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to disregard the past or future. Instead, it means to remain aware of your thoughts, feelings, and goals, and to make decisions that allow you to be financially positive and responsible right now.
- Chatzky, Jean. “How to Use Mindfulness to Manage Your Money Better.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 19 Jan. 2018, www.nbcnews.com/better/business/how-use-mindfulness-manage-your-money-better-ncna839111.
- Oldham, Paige. “Mindful Spending: The Happy Way to Financial Freedom.” Simplemindfulness.com, Simple Mindfulness, www.simplemindfulness.com/mindful-spending-the-happy-way-to-financial-freedom/.
- Sesko, Danielle. “Practicing Mindful Finances: Begin by Watching Yourself Make Choices.” SafetyNet, SafetyNet, 18 Sept. 2018, safetynet.com/blog/practicing-mindful-finances/.
- Weiss, Larry. “Mindfulness Today Can Create Better Financial Future.” NerdWallet, 21 Jan. 2015, www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/mindfulness-today-create-financial-future/.