Mindful money practices can take stress out of the new year

Article written by Mary Metten, Health and Well-being Extension Educator. 
Originally published in the Kenosha News.

The beginning of a new year can be stressful, money-wise. A swirl of celebration, buying gifts and food has settled down and credit card statements have started to roll in. Although for many Americans, every month is a stressful financial month.

The American Psychological Association cited in their 2020 Stress in America survey that approximately 64% of Americans report feeling stressed about money. Even more, according to a 2021 Capital One CreditWise survey, 73% of Americans ranked their finances as the most significant source of stress in their life.

When feeling this unrelenting stress, some turn to unhealthy habits to soothe, it may impact overall feelings and mood, it causes conflicts in relationships, or may just ignore money problems altogether. Others want to improve finances, form new habits, and make changes to financial behaviors. As great ways to cultivate habits that stick and aid to our self-care, consider practicing mindful money habits.

Mindfulness is defined by leading expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn, as “…awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Practicing mindfulness in general is an effective way to work through stress and practice self-care.

Mindful money practices can add to self-care and be actions you strive to do consciously, intentionally, and on a regular basis. They should not feel like a to-do list filled with stress inducing tasks and panic. Similar to most mindfulness activities, keep in mind they are practices. Practicing leaves space and grace for imperfection and improvement over time.

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