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Manage your mind, tame your finances

One of the first riddles I learned as a small child was the chicken or egg quandary.
It did my head in trying to crack that one.
The relationship between the mind and money is also somewhat circular.
What came first, the right mindset or the money?
You’ll have plenty of examples on either side of the ledger I’m sure but it is an interesting debate.
For those fortunate enough to be born into wealth, money came first naturally.  But just because someone is rich at birth doesn’t assure them a good relationship with money ,or a guaranteed supply of it either.
And regardless of whether you made it, or inherited it, wealth needs a healthy mind to manage it properly.
I’ll never forget the scene  in “All The Money In the World,” documenting the life of Jean Paul Getty senior. At one time, America’s wealthiest man, Getty was apparently so thrifty he would wash his own undies in a hotel sink to save a buck.  Notoriously, he did not pay the ransom when his grandson was kidnapped.
It’s an extreme example, but it underscores how the mind can delude itself where money is concerned.
Research has found that folks living in wealthier postal districts give less money to charity, than those of more modest means suggesting that the richer you become, the less generous of pocket.
With today’s cost of living, and mortgage rates tripling for some, the financial pain  of 2023 is not exaggerated. But wishing one’s financial situation was better than it is, without doing something differently, is unlikely to make a difference.
However, seeing your situation from a different angle and forming a plan of action will.
It starts with having mental clarity and then a road map.
Sadly far too many people become paralysed by their finances. They either fail to do anything at all or make matters worse for themselves by pretending things are different than they are. Neither is helpful.
In the gripes of a financial crisis, what you need first and foremost is a clear mind and then a clean slate to set a new course.
The mind needs to be cleansed of fear, anxiety and generally unhelpful thoughts to find a way forward. It may not be easy, but it’s far better than freaking out.
This is where mind-calming techniques like meditation or slow, steady breathing come into hand.
When practised with some regularity, both have the effect of taming that monkey mind.
Both work on a physiological level overriding the fight or flight mode that we haven’t evolved out of yet. When the body relaxes, the mental mind fog also lifts.
It can alter how you perceive your external world, and teach you to become more responsive and less reactive.
Regular meditators will know from experience the positive benefits of having that clarity and calmness of mind across all areas of life.
Don’t get me wrong, you can do some fundamental things with money that result in better financial outcomes that don’t take meditation or psychoanalysis.
They include simply not spending more than you earn, automating your savings, understanding the actual cost of debt, avoiding it where possible and tracking your spending more mindfully.
But for those more perplexing financial situations, and more ambitious goals having  greater mastery over one’s mind is key.