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Money on the mind: easing the strain of financial stress

by Headspace

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In this month’s Headspace featured collection, Money on the Mind, we’re highlighting recommended meditations and exercises to help you better cope with financial stress and have a healthier relationship with money.

At one time or another, most of us will have felt stressed about money, whether it’s struggling to make ends meet, feeling burdened by debt, fretting about family expenses, or worrying whether there’ll be enough left in the pot to retire. The stress could also be from making a certain financial decision, worrying about losing hard-earned savings, or simply being money-phobic, due to some conditioned beliefs handed down over generations.

Whatever the reason, the pressure that accompanies financial stress can sometimes feel overwhelming and hard to escape — affecting our relationships, our sleep, and our health. It seems to trickle down into every area of life, making it hard to think, focus, and function.

The easiest thing to do, of course, is project our current situation into the future and imagine it’s never-ending, making us feel even worse. It’s why many of us go into avoidance: avoiding calls from utility companies, avoiding opening bank statements, and avoiding tough conversations.

The hardest thing to do is to look our financial stress in the eye, stay present, and deal with it. We can make this easier on ourselves by looking at our situation through the lens of mindfulness.

Meditation cannot make us wealthy or dissolve our debts, but it can bring an awareness that helps us reframe our approach to finances, and therefore, ease the strain. When we cannot change the reality of a situation, we instead change our perspective; in changing our perspective, we change our relationship with something, and that’s a powerful shift when it comes to money.

Money on the Mind: recommended meditations to help manage financial stress

Check your balance

Checking in with ourselves before checking our bank account balance can put us in the right frame of mind, rather than sending us into a tailspin. Breathe, step back, reassess, and restore some much-needed balance to your life.

  • Prioritization course – When there’s a lot on our minds, we often can’t see the forest for the trees. This 10-day meditation course helps cut away everything so that we can get some much-needed clarity on what matters and what needs to be prioritized.
  • Balance course – When stressed about money, we’re prone to feeling a little off-kilter. This 10-day course allows us to find our feet again, restores some equilibrium, and teaches us to respond, not react.  
  • Material Desire (obstacle) – Spending a little too freely? This audio insight in the “Obstacles” section of the app — found if you scroll down under the “Helpful tips & support” topic in the Headspace library (mobile app only) —  tackles how the mind struggles with material desire, and what we can do about it. 
  • Regret (obstacle) – Maybe you’ve gone through your bank statement and seen where your money went last month. Money has a habit of making us question our spending. This insight, also in the “Obstacles” section (mobile app only), helps us understand what regret is, what it does, and why it shouldn’t have a hold over us.

Emotionally overdrawn

Our emotions can get the better of us when we’re financially stressed. There is a lot going on and every day can feel overwhelming or burdensome. The following exercises are designed to ease the strain and help you keep moving forward with calm and clarity.

  • Navigating Change – Being comfortable with change is not easy for most people, especially when it comes to money. It’s common to feel at the mercy of a situation that seems to be in control of us, and not vice-versa.  This 10-day course helps restore a greater sense of flow and ease.
  • Stressed single – Nothing can change our circumstances, but this single exercise shows us how to notice the storyline we’re holding on to, and teaches us how to find relief by reframing our stress. Pause. Breathe. Reset. Reframe.
  • Frustrated single – When we feel a financial squeeze, our anger, irritability, and frustration can quickly rise to the surface. We can’t prevent that from happening, but this exercise helps guide us through a release of such emotions, fostering peace of mind instead.
  • Feeling Overwhelmed SOS – When life feels too much, you sometimes have to reach for the SOS button … and this single exercise is here to bring relief and perspective when we are feeling particularly overwhelmed.

Treat yourself 

When stressed about money, one of the hardest things to do is look after ourselves, or at least do something that feels positive. But in looking after ourselves, we look after our minds … and that’s a stress-buster in and of itself.

  • Add Some Joy (walk) – taking a walk and putting down our stress — even if it’s just for a few minutes, even if it’s a walk around the block — can make a world of difference in how we feel, especially when it’s a guided meditation in our ears.
  • Motivation single – Feeling motivated is sometimes the last thing we feel when we’re stressed, so this exercise is here to remind us about our goals, so that we can feel purposeful again, with a renewed sense of perspective.
  • Creativity course – This 30-day meditation course will help you discover — or rediscover — your creativity and self-expression. So dive in, get creative, and find your flow.
  • Taking a Break single – No matter how stressful things get, we should always reconnect with ourselves by reconnecting with the present moment. It helps us feel refreshed, a little lighter, and a little calmer before stepping back into our day.


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