Money, Health and Wellbeing.
Who would have thought that money, a metal lump, can actually make you sick? Can you imagine worrying over a shell, how many shells you have and whether you will survive without those shells? You then dedicate the hours of your life accumulating shells and work yourself into the ground to survive. Over time you accumulate a mass of shells so that you can feel as though you have more shells than others because the more shells you have then the more important you are. What makes the illusion worse is that your peers view you in esteem according to how many shells you have. In fact if you have over a million shells your sense of power enables you to be viewed as something special, someone important. Then one day someone comes along and takes away your shells. Suddenly you are worth nothing in the shell view of the world. You then descend into depression because your life has collapsed because you have no shells. Your partner leaves you because you are shell-less and goes for someone who has plenty of shells to support their way of living. You realise he or she was actually a ‘Shell-digger’.
When you replace money with shells you become very aware how ridiculous attachment to money really is and how we define ourselves through it. Yet money is a reality we have to deal with. What’s more, money is one of the biggest causes of stress, anxiety and worry. If you consider the fact that these three negative states affect your immune system then why would you be surprised that money can directly affect your health?
About twelve years ago I was transitioning from working on cruise ships and returning to land to study my Master’s Degree. The transition resulted in me worrying about how I was going to survive financially - and boom – my lower back went. My fear that I would not be able support myself got me right at the base of my spine. It was so bad that I could not walk for two days and during the time I was in laying on my back I noticed the churn of thoughts about money streaming through my mind. Was it any wonder that this mental pattern had migrated to the base of my spine?
It was during a random conversation that someone told me that the lower back ‘going’ was a classic sign of financial worry. Me being as analytical as I am, thought ‘rubbish’. Yet the more I looked into it then the more I realised that during times in my life where I was financially worried then my back would go. It seemed that this was more common that I realised. Such a revelation made me realise that people’s bodies responded to their thoughts. It was then that I discovered somatic psychology and the relation between thoughts and illness.
Later on in my career I became a business analyst and worked trending financial patterns. At the same time I watched colleagues go through different wealth related phases. I noticed when they were under financial strain a number of them developed back issues. When they wanted to avoid money issues they developed stiff necks. Others got stomach aches when large bills came in. The most simple of all was when they had been worrying about finances they developed colds. Obviously there are far more factors involved yet money seemed to be a trigger for many of their health issues.
One of the main causes of relationship break-ups is down to money. With this in mind is there anything we can do to improve our wealth health?
Here are a few questions I asked myself to enable movement beyond the financial flus:
Am I willing to be completely responsible for my finances?
Have you ever looked at how you view money and how much of your money is you?
How can you separate your identity from how much money you have?
How can you demonstrate your self-worth without using money?
If you have debt why do you maintain it?
If you have debt what do you need to do to pay it off?
How can the action of paying off debt be stress free? Note: a tip is to automate the pay off on your pay day so you the debt gets paid off without you having the temptation to touch the money.
What if money was simply an object or a tool?
What thoughts do I have about money?
How do my thoughts change when I start feeling stressed about money?
Where do I feel this in my body?
Have there been times in my life when I have become ill due to financial worry? Where did that turn up in my body?
Once one becomes aware of the patterns then one can take action. I read numerous books on finance and money management: The Richest Man in Babylon, Think and Grow Rich, The Rules of Wealth and The 4 hour Working Week. These were excellent books and provided plenty of information on how to make and manage money. Yet I had not fixed the actual issue – my attitude to money. Nor had I looked at the health aspect. So a few more books later: You can heal your life, healing body healing mind and numerous other somatic psychology books, I realised that the body, the mind and our monetary situations were all linked.
I needed to understand how money made me feel and what emotions I experienced. So there I am feeling guilt when I go into an overdraft. I then felt angry when I received a huge bill. I felt levels of excitement at purchasing a new dress. I am sure you don’t need to my emotions about buying new underwear. The emotional money diary is revealing especially when you write down how you feel, the thoughts and why you need to buy something.
So I may as well share this with you – I realised that quite often that spending money compensated for boredom and made me feel free. After I had bought an object (that I did not really need) I would then descend into a cycle of guilt. After a few weeks patterns emerge and you will see what you are really up to. Through the money diary you may well identify beliefs such as ‘money must make me miserable.’ ‘I will never have enough money’. It is worth writing these beliefs down and affirming the opposite. This can make you feel quite queasy when you really hit an in-depth belief. When you do an affirmation over such an issue do it until you either feel free of the belief or you make a large exhale. Once you are clear of old beliefs then it is time to take action. Learn how to manage money, monitor your thoughts and shift them from worry to positives. It is amazing how the development of self-awareness relaxes you. The more relaxed you are then the less likely you are to become ill due to money.
I hope the above inspires you. If you have any examples of how you shifted attitudes to money then please share in the commentsJ
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