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What do you think? Is the “positive thinking” philosophy so frequently touted in the media now a bunch of “new age” wishful thinking, or is there validity to envisioning yourself wealthy in order to improve your finances?
In my previous post, I discussed some tangible steps you can take to relieve the stress debt can cause. But even if you can’t change the fact that, right now, you are in debt, you can still reduce your stress about the situation by changing your mindset.
Here are some positive thinking tips gleaned from top life improvement gurus like Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra. (Yes, that word is often over-used, but these men have earned the title) that may help you reduce stress caused by debt.
1. Change your language.
Even if your wallet is empty and your credit cards are full, don’t think of yourself as “poor.” Being poor is a mindset, while being “broke” or “out of cash” is a temporary condition caused by a lack of funds. It’s best to adopt a mindset of wealth even if you don’t have any money (we’ll get to that next) but if you’re going to put a mental label on your condition, use “broke,” not “poor.”
2. Be thankful.
Experts often suggest picturing yourself “wealthy” in order to attract the wealth you want.
That can be very difficult to do if you are deep in debt. One way you can reduce stress and feel better about yourself and your financial condition is to make a gratitude list of everything you do have.
Maybe you have a beautiful spouse and children. Or a job you love. Or the opportunity to work for yourself in your own business.
Maybe you own a gorgeous home, and that’s one of the reasons you have so much debt. Or that old phrase, “At least I have my health,” might apply.
Everyone has something — and probably quite a few things — to be grateful for.
Expressing gratitude for what you have, physical items or intangible blessings, gives you a great pick-me-up that reduces stress.
3. Remember it’s okay to treat yourself every so often.
If you’re trying hard to get out of debt, you might be tempted to place yourself on an austerity budget, shuffling every free penny toward your bills.
The problem with this plan is, like an overly strict diet, you probably won’t be able to stick to it. Set a modest amount (maybe $10 a week) that you can use to treat yourself. Maybe that money goes toward monthly pedicures, twice weekly lattes, or a lunch out. Just be sure to stick to your budget the rest of the time.
By suggesting positive thinking, we’re not advocating delusion. Curb your spending, work toward getting out of debt, and, if you need to, get help, either financial or legal. But three things happen when we adopt a positive attitude:
- We start to feel better and reduce the stress in our lives caused by our debt
- Feeling better, we can begin to ask the right, productive questions that can help us get out of debt
- By asking the right questions, we begin to see opportunities to pay down our debt and solve our financial problems that we didn’t see when we were too mired in our own stress and possibly depression to even think about seeing a way out.
Does positive thinking really work? It doesn’t cost anything, so why not give it a try?