When we think about relationships, we tend to think about our interactions with other people, and life experience teaches us that those relationships can be either healthy or toxic based on a bunch of factors. Well we also have a relationship with money, and it can also be healthy or toxic. Money is a leading cause of stress for adults in New Zealand, so financial wellbeing being is an important part of our overall wellbeing. Having a healthy relationship with money can remove some (or a lot of!) stress from our lives.
How our relationship with money is formed
Our feelings and beliefs about money start to form at an early age. As children we understand the basic concept from the time we’re toddlers, and by the age of seven our values around money are pretty well ingrained. Those early experiences shape how we feel about money – things like witnessing adults arguing about finances, or seeing people being treated differently depending on whether they’re considered to be ‘wealthy’ or not. And – no surprises here – if we feel bad about money, it’s likely to negatively impact on almost every other area of our lives.
How’s your relationship with money?
Most of us have issues with or concerns about money at some stage in our lives. If you don’t already know what your personal relationship with money is, you could ask yourself questions like these:
If thinking about these questions makes you feel uncomfortable, that may indicate you don’t have a great relationship with money. If you want to turn that around, it can be done! Many of our behaviours with money are automatic, so identifying what our beliefs are can be really helpful in deciding what to do next. In order to change them, we need to understand what they are.
Work on your mindset
When you’re going to be working with your finances or paying your bills, it pays to get into a positive mindset first. It’s a simple fact that things feel more difficult when we’re feeling low, and are much easier to face when we’re in a good headspace.
There are four ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain – often referred to at the 'feel-good hormones' – that are essential to our mental health and wellbeing: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins.
We’ll go into these in more depth in a future blog, but for now, try out the activities below to feel as good as possible each time you’re going to be looking at your finances.