Are you emotionally balanced when it comes to money? Sure, you know you need to save, budget, pay off debt, and plan for retirement, but how do you feel when it comes to your finances. It's easy to talk about what we should be doing with our money without really focusing on the emotional aspect. We often treat money like many other things in life — a means to an end.
However, money has a huge impact on how people get to live their lives. And as a result, it's natural that we tend to attach a great deal of emotion to it. Sometimes these emotions can be negative which can lead to bigger problems.
But before we dive into how to balance emotions around money, let's discuss how negative emotions about your finances can affect you.
The effects of not being emotionally balanced with money
Northwestern Mutual’s Planning and Progress Study found that while 68% of Americans felt good about their financial situation, a substantial amount of people also reported feeling these negative emotions regularly:
- Anxiety: 54%
- Financial insecurity: 52%
- Fear: 48%
Money is also the dominant source of stress, more than personal relationships and having a job or career. But financial stress can come about in other ways, too. It can also cause people to develop avoidance behaviors when it comes to their finances.
Financial denial is a defense mechanism that may come with feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem. If unaddressed, this can keep you from achieving your financial goals or worse. So you see, learning how to balance emotions when it comes to money is essential to financial success!
List of negative emotions around money and becoming emotionally balanced
If you’re feeling anxiety, shame, or other negative emotions, maybe it’s time to explore what’s going on and put those feelings at ease. Here is a list of negative emotions around money, along with some tactics to help you find balance.
Anxiety and fear
Anxiety and fear are at the top of the list of negative emotions. Having anxiety or fear of money is all too common. Remember, more than half of Americans feel anxious about their money regularly! You know your inner dialogue best. Maybe you worry about how you'll earn enough of it and how you’ll pay your bills.
Or perhaps you worry that you'll lose what you have or that you can't manage it well enough. You worry so much about your financial situation that it becomes stressful and you avoid your finances altogether.
How to get emotionally balanced when it comes to fear
Balance emotions of fear by getting out of your own way. When you start feeling anxious or fearful about your money, instead of staying stuck, ask yourself, What can I do to get past this? If you worry about not being able to pay your bills, work with what you can control and create a plan.
If it’s all just too overwhelming, talk to an accountability partner or money expert or consider taking one of our free personal finance courses. Don't allow yourself to stay stuck. Take action on balancing emotions with money so you can work past the fear.
Anger and regret
These are the shoulda, woulda, coulda emotions. Maybe you're angry with yourself for going on a shopping binge or not saving enough money. Maybe you have regrets about opening that credit card and racking up debt.
You hold on to so much regret. And then there's the anger. Perhaps you get mad at yourself for being so irresponsible. Or maybe you get mad at your parents for not teaching you about money. You get mad at the world for your situation. However, you can learn from your financial mistakes and get better.
How to balance emotions of anger
So, how do you get emotionally balanced if you feel anger and regret? Instead of regret, think forgiveness. Forgive yourself for your past financial mistakes and keep it moving. Ever heard the saying, "There's no use crying over spilled milk?" Well, there's no point in regret because it gets you nowhere.
It's ok to get mad, but channel those angry feelings into good use. Get so mad that your mindset becomes one of "never again."
Get so mad that you create a solid budget and strategy that ensures you never fall back into your ways of poorly managing your finances. Don't hold on to regret and anger. Let them out, let them go, and keep moving forward.
Shame and embarrassment
When it comes to money, mistakes, shame, and embarrassment are all too common. Maybe you feel shame because you feel people will judge you for your money mistakes. Or you feel embarrassed about your current financial situation.
We want to look good in front of our friends and family. We don't want to admit our money situation isn’t that great, especially when society is telling us that we should accomplish certain things financially by a certain age.
The good news is that everyone has made mistakes, even the smartest and wealthiest people in the world, and believe me when I say they've made several. Just do a Google search on your favorite successful people. Anyone who tells you they've never made a mistake with their money just hasn't made one yet.
Get emotionally balanced when it comes to shame
Similar to anger and regret, the key to balancing emotions from shame is to forgive yourself for your past money mistakes and then realize you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.
It's time to let go of the shame and self-judgment and instead find your inner strength to take the lessons you've learned and move forward.
The grass always looks greener on the other side until you get to the other side and realize things aren't what they seem. Jealousy also comes in a milder form known as “keeping up with the Joneses.”
The trouble is, when people try to keep up, they end up living beyond their means, getting into debt, and pushing themselves much further away from their financial goals. According to Experian's Consumer Debt Study, credit card debt, mortgage debt, student loan debt, and auto loans reached an all-time high last year.
How to get emotionally balanced by replacing jealousy with gratitude
The key to balancing emotions around jealousy is to practice gratitude and contentment instead. Take time out every day to remind yourself of the things you wanted in the past that you now have. Start a gratitude journal or list, or download an app.
Free yourself of jealousy, and instead channel those feelings into motivation to work harder, fine-tune your financial goals, and do better within your means. And always remember, there are things you have that someone else is praying for.
Get emotionally balanced with money!
Do you relate to something from this list of negative emotions? It's human nature to feel negative emotions, but what matters is that you take action and start balancing emotions that pertain to your finances.
When it comes to our finances, it's about not giving up. We take the lessons we've learned from our money mistakes and apply them to our next steps.
Remember that you can always make positive changes in your life and finances. Transform your mindset and balance your emotions about money by enrolling in our completely free "Build a solid foundation" course!