Anxiety about finances can keep you up at night, raise your blood pressure, and generally make life miserable. If you’re experiencing this, you’re not alone — and the good news is, you can learn healthy ways to cope! Here, experts share six empowering tips on how to boost your financial confidence so you can overcome setbacks, build your future on your terms, and stop worrying about money.
Acknowledge the fear.
It’s so important to acknowledge your fears, says wealth psychologist and executive coach Moira Somers, Ph.D, author of Advice That Sticks ($17.39, Amazon). “When we don’t have answers, worries spin and spin until we feel like we’re spinning.” To regain equilibrium, tell yourself, I can’t know what’s going to happen and I don’t need to. What I need to know is right here: My family is safe, and I’m okay. This calms you, bringing you back to the moment.
Rewrite your script.
Even when things are out of our control, we still replay scripts like, I’m not good with money. “Your brain looks for patterns, often turning inward to blame because that’s easier than admitting the world is unpredictable,” says financial wellness expert Amanda Clayman. Rewrite your script by jotting down five things you do well with money, such as finding the best deals or giving to charity, says financial therapist Bari Tessler, author of The Art of Money ($11.59, Amazon). “We all have strengths—it’s just a matter of recognizing them.”
Count your blessings.
“It’s impossible to be resilient in the absence of positivity,” declares Somers, explaining that when we’re primed to see scarcity, that’s all we see. “Look for other kinds of abundance, from your healthy body to your supportive friends.” Even giving your time to others makes you feel rich. “Gratitude lets us access higher thinking, so we can envision how we want to emerge from our money fears: more resolute than ever.”
Focus on the big picture.
When envisioning your financial horizon, skip the plan, says Clayman. “That word requires a degree of certainty, making us feel like we need to work until we have a solution — it’s overwhelming.” Instead, think of goals as a broader framework. “Make a date, with a clear start and end time, to ask yourself questions like, How much do I have? Do I want to make modifications to my debts? ” This gives you a 360-degree picture, helping you come up with several options, be it changing credit cards or deferring loans. “A big picture mindset lets you see how one financial shift affects the others, giving you more control.”
Connect with loved ones.
One of the best predictors of overcoming financial stress is social support, reveals Somers. “Start conversations with those whose financial destinies are connected with yours,” she says. “You might tell your spouse, I just want to make sure we’re rowing in the same direction, and talk about how you can help each other meet goals. These discussions take a weight off of you and build mutual respect.”
Look for new opportunities.
Having counseled folks through major financial crises, including in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Clayman always sees one silver lining: “People create meaning from these events — big shifts help us see new ways of solving problems.” Whether being furloughed has made you realize there’s a new path you want to pursue or you’d like to turn a hobby into a sideline, “be aware of what speaks to your heart, and listen to those whispers.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.