There has been a huge breakthrough in the world of wellbeing and happiness in recent years with the idea of Mindfulness – the state of mind when we simply connect with the present moment rather than thinking about the future or worrying about the past.
Studies show that those who practice mindful meditation even for just a short time each day are at reduced risk of anxiety and depression, as well as enjoying other health benefits too.
It seems a simple way to be happier and healthier and all it involves is 15 minutes each day when you put away your mobile phone and devices, switch off the TV and spend time talking to friends and family, listening to the sounds, sights, aromas and tactile experiences that are happening right here and right now.
The irony is, there are mountains of books, endless streams of videos and media created to help us to be Mindful. Only thinking about the present moment is, it seems, incredibly difficult.
Try it and you’ll soon discover your mind drifts off to what you need to cook for dinner this evening, whether that meeting at work went as badly as you fear it did, reminding yourself of the million and one things on your ‘to do’ list.
And when it comes to money, we’re even worse.
When was the last time that you made any kind of significant purchase and didn’t consider how it would impact the future, or when you went out for a meal with friends and didn’t consider how much the bill might be at the end? And yet being mindful when it comes to money is a real cornerstone in helping to reduce anxiety and worries.
Plan for spontaneity
The first trick to it is to have a financial plan in place that allows for a certain amount of spontaneous spending. It is possible to do this even on very tight budgets. If you balance a longer term plan that means you can achieve what you want in the future, with a shorter term plan that gives you a set amount each week or month for spur of the moment spending – going for lunch with a friend, treating the children to a trip to the zoo, or just ice creams. Knowing that you have a set amount to spend will allow you to seize these moments and enjoy them without worrying about the finances.
Life enhancing or moment enhancing?
The second trick to mindful money management is to get into the habit of understanding what kind of spending will really enrich your life, and what kind of spending won’t really mean much after the initial gratification.
This is something which takes a little time and skill. We know that spending time with loved ones and small celebrations with friends creates memories which enrich our lives. But not all decisions are clear cut. Spending money on a dress, for example, might mean that you buy something which boosts your confidence and makes you feel wonderful every time you wear it. On the other hand, it might end up wasting space in an overcrowded cupboard for five years before you throw it out. The gadget you’ve been wishing for might transform your daily fitness regime and contribute to saving your life, or it could be something you simply use to tell the time because you never actually understand how to utilise all of its features.
Mindful money management isn’t about indulging every instant gratification – we all know that is the path to financial ruin – but taking time to balance those decisions.
A good question to ask is would this stand to make the final cut of the movie of my life, the scenes that flashback as we recall our whole and happy life. Or is it something that would certainly end up on the cutting room floor.
Make your decision and whatever the outcome, enjoy the moment.
We all need to update our financial planning every so often, so if you’d like a little help in balancing your money so you can enjoy the present moment while knowing that your future finances are in hand, talk to your Serenity advisor. This is really at the heart of what we offer and we’re here to help.