Don’t brush it off as a mere fad.
By now, you’ve almost certainly heard about mindfulness — the practice of living in the now by paying attention to your thoughts. Though it may seem as if this practice keeps coming up everywhere these days, it’s not merely a fad.
There’s substantial evidence that mindfulness can improve many aspects of your life — from your mental and physical health to success at school or work.
In fact, mindfulness might even improve your financial health. Here’s how:
It Helps You Spend Wisely
You might be surprised what happens when you practice mindfulness as you spend money. Mindfulness will help you purchase things more deliberately, curbing your impulsive spending.
The effects begin with the decision-making process. Businesses use psychological tricks to encourage us to spend money, such as grouping items of different prices to make one of them seem like a really good deal or touting an item as “40 percent off” that never was offered at full price anyway.
Paying attention to your thoughts as you shop can help you avoid these tricks. Try to determine whether you’re buying something because it seems like such a good deal (even if you don’t really need the item) or because you truly need or want it. This thoughtful approach will help you make more valuable purchases and keep you from unwise spending.
Likewise, practicing mindfulness as you pay for things can affect your spending. People tend to spend less when paying with cash rather than a card, likely because cash looks and feels like “real” money. Consider your thoughts as you pay with a card. Are you cognizant of how much you’re spending? Or do you swipe without even thinking about the amount?
Practicing mindfulness as you check out can help you better understand your spending and adjust it accordingly. You might even try a cash-only budget to encourage more mindful spending.
It Affects Your Performance
Think about the kinds of skills you need to be successful at your job: problem-solving, cooperative working, creativity, and prioritization. These aren’t the kinds of things you can learn in school.
Fortunately, mindfulness can help you develop many of the skills you need for success. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to help your brain perform better, enabling you to remember more and work harder. It’s been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, which can help you focus on what’s important at the moment. Mindfulness is also linked to increased creativity, helping you discover solutions and solve problems. It’s even been linked to compassion, which will help you work more effectively on a team.
The benefits of mindfulness can translate directly to your work performance, which will indirectly help your finances. You may find that through practicing mindfulness and cultivating important skills, doors will be opened to you that will allow you to prosper. You’ll become an invaluable employee — and that’s certainly good for your financial health.
It Helps You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
With the stresses of modern life, it’s no wonder that anxiety is a common cause of insomnia. Fortunately, mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve your sleep. Some simple mindful meditation at bedtime can help your mind and body relax, letting you fall — and stay — asleep.
Of course, sleeping well won’t translate directly into cash in your wallet, but quality sleep can certainly improve your finances. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your work, making it more difficult to make decisions, solve problems, and stay focused, while a good night’s sleep goes a long way toward helping you perform well at work, which will put you in a better spot financially.
Similarly, using mindfulness to sleep better can help you save money on health care since sleep deprivation can lead to or exacerbate a number of health problems.
Mindfulness doesn’t come automatically to most people, so to start, set aside a few minutes each day to practice. As you do so, it will become easier to be mindful throughout the rest of your day — including as you shop, work, and sleep — all of which can have a positive effect on your wallet. And who doesn’t want that?