Being In a Financial Hole is a challenge, but there is a way to stay sane

The pressure to provide for your family is something that everyone in the world has to think about daily. One of the ways to stay sane, when everything seems to be stacked against you, is to be grateful for what you’ve got by changing your mindset; in other words, take the time to appreciate what you have and not what you don’t have.

When you are feeling down, this can be very hard to do, so it is best to start with the things that you have taken for granted. I too am guilty of this, so I decided to ask myself a series of questions, that, if I answer yes to, will be a reason to celebrate.

  1.  Do we have a place to live?
  2.  Do we have an income?
  3.  Are we educated?
  4.  Do we have a significant other in our life that loves us?
  5.  Do we have good relationships with some of our family members?
  6.  Do we occasionally have free time to do what we want?
  7.  Are we reasonably healthy?
  8.  Do we have beaches and access to the countryside nearby?
  9. What else do we need, and, is it essential?

Next, you need to think of ways that things could be much worse, reflect on why these things have not happened, and then consider each bad thing that has not happened as a gift, in and of itself. For example,

  • Am I dead?
  • Am I in prison?
  • Am I ill?
  • Am I completely alone in the world, without a chance to meet new people?
  • Am I completely broke?

The third thing to consider is letting go of the past – something I struggle with every day. The past is the past, and there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it, so worrying about it does nothing for you. Things that could have been don’t exist in the present, so they are not real. We should focus on things that do exist and that we can change.

The next thing that we should try to do is stop comparing ourselves to others. Envy is poisonous to your happiness, and it’s hard to be happy when you’re focused on what others have or how much better their lives are than yours. When someone has something that you like (a bigger house, a car, holidays abroad etc.), don’t be upset about it. Instead, be happy for the other person and focus on making yourself happier.

Fifth on the list is letting go of your desire for material things. Possessions can’t make you happy in the long run. That buzz of buying something new soon fades, and soon the “new thing” becomes just another possession sitting on the shelf or in the drawer, and you’re no happier than when you started. Houses, flash cars and money are all beautiful things to have, but they are not the route to happiness. If you continually allow yourself to desire these things, then you’re only setting yourself up for more unhappiness.

Spend time with the people you truly value. To a certain extent, you are the people you surround yourself with, over time, their opinions, actions, and emotions rub off on you, working their way into your life.

To be as happy as possible, be sure to spend time with the people who are most important to you — the people who make you happiest. These can be friends, family members, coworkers, significant others, or even casual acquaintances. Only you know who makes you the happiest, so make this choice for yourself.

Surround yourself with things that make you happy. Even something as simple as your physical environment can affect your happiness. Love flowers? Place them all around your house or workplace. Are you a car aficionado? Leave time in your schedule to do a little work on your car every week. Spending just a little time around the things that make you feel good can have a significant effect on your mood. It will also remind you how much you have to be thankful for.

Don’t hesitate to get outdoors. You’ll always be better off discovering something new than staying at home. Try taking a walk. Head to the park or the beach. Have a friendly conversation with someone you meet. Take a bike ride. Visit a museum with friends. Whatever you like to do outside of the house, do it. You’ll notice your mood improve and your outlook change.

So, what does contentment and gratitude feel like? Contentment is being good with what is; it does not always measure things by how much more of it you could or should have. It is also noticing and appreciating what you have, and also savouring it.

By making a small shift in the way that you move through the world, you have the power to enjoy your life; you can be satisfied by accepting things around you. Decide what matters to you and what does not. Don’t fret over the things that you don’t care about or value.

Until next time..