Mindfulness 101: reduce your financial stress
Written on the 23 October 2016
In today's hectic world we often spend so much time worrying about the future or lingering in the past we forget to enjoy the present. But tuning into the wonderful things happening around us as they happen can be life changing. It's also a great way to combat stress, especially when it comes to our finances.
The Australian Psychological Society's 2015 stress and wellbeing in Australia survey found financial concerns are the top cause of stress among Australians. Whilst we stress about our finances sometimes things fall outside of our control. Being more mindful is one way to address this.
Mindfulness expert Elizabeth Granger explains mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness. "This can be cultivated by doing formal mindfulness practice where you set aside meditation time to deliberately pay attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way. It involves bringing curiosity and a sense of allowing what is here to be here, as opposed to judging what's happening in our lives."
Mindfulness practices originated from Buddhist traditions more than 2500 years ago. So they are not new phenomena. More recently these techniques have been embraced by western culture. Nevertheless, mindfulness takes a certain amount of effort, says Granger. "We spend so much time wanting experiences or ourselves to be different it can feel difficult to allow things to be the way they are, as opposed to how we wish them to be. While there is nothing technically difficult about mindfulness practice, it does require discipline to pay attention this way."
Path to the practice
Granger came to mindfulness while working as a litigation lawyer and studying psychotherapy on the side, all while raising two young children.
"As soon as I started practising I noticed how it helped me manage stress and how I could think more clearly under pressure. It helped me open up to many more possibilities," she enthuses. According to Granger she is now more able to manage her emotions thanks to her mindfulness practice. "My focus has improved, including my ability to resist distractions. But the biggest change is the way I am open to the world around me. I have more capacity than before and I'm happier as I savour more moments of my life."
Mindfulness can be practised anywhere, says Granger. "I remember once meditating while walking around the airport when my plane was cancelled, so it is a very portable practice which can be done anywhere."
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