How Meditation Can Improve Your Financial Decisions
Meditation is all about being present in the moment, not caught up in the moment. Since many splurge buys are linked to lack of self-control, like buying too many rounds on Friday night or cheeky online shopping sprees, you can see how a little financial mindfulness might come in handy.
With regular meditation practice, you will start to become more aware of your behaviour and how you act in different situations. The goal is to get out of autopilot and make more mindful decisions. Or at least stop doing things you might regret.
Here are a few ways that meditation can help you financially.
1. Become more focused.
Meditation is one of the best ways to improve your focus. Nowadays we’re always being distracted by something. Between social media, work emails or worrying about how much toilet paper we have (...too soon?), taking time to switch off and listen to your body is key to slowing down and concentrating. It will improve your ability to sit with the reality of your finances and help you realise what you need to do – which might be reviewing your spending, setting a budget or examining how much interest you're actually paying when you miss that credit card payment.
2. Improve your self-awareness.
The more you practice meditation, the better you will start to understand yourself. That sounds a little bit wanky, but it basically means knowing why you react the way that you do. What stresses you out? What puts you at ease? Ideally, you want to reach a point where you understand your triggers and realise when you’re about to make a poor money decision and why you’re tempted to make that choice.
It’s also important to be aware of the reality of your financial situation, so make sure to check your credit scores and get a solid sense of where you stand so you’re not worrying unnecessarily.
3. Get a handle on your emotions.
Overspending can often be attributed to an emotional response to something. Think about your last fast food or late night online shopping spree. These purchases are sometimes triggered after that second glass of wine and are an attempt to make ourselves feel better. Being mindful means you have the opportunity to choose how you want to act – instead of just reacting and not considering the consequences.
If your day isn’t going your way, take a deep breath, close your eyes and ask yourself what is really going on and then choose what will actually be the best choice for you in that moment. Choose to accept how you feel and maybe hold off on that third pair of trainers.
4. Reduce stress levels.
It’s scientifically proven that meditation can reduce stress since deep breathing brings the body to a calm state. It helps the body repair itself and can calm your mind and body by quieting the stress-induced thoughts that keep your body's stress response triggered.1
When you’re not stressed, you’re better equipped to make rational decisions about your money and not act impulsively – like applying for a credit card to pay off a bill you can’t afford.
5. Sleep better.
When you get a good night’s sleep, you’re better equipped to have a good day. This also means you won’t be looking to purchase things to make yourself feel better, or more awake. A night of good sleep means you won’t need three coffees to get through, and chances are you made lunch too since you were feeling extra sprightly.
...So how do you meditate? If you’re a newbie, we recommend doing your own research into different methods or downloading a free meditation app that can guide you through some basic exercises. You can also ‘meditate’ when you ride a bike or go for a walk. It simply means paying attention to what is going on in the moment and achieving a calm and stable state.