The Psychology of Money

Money is a powerful player in one’s psychological health.

BY: Brandi-Ann Uyemura


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By using money as a tool to get what you need, you can also inadvertently divert attention away from the things and people who really need your attention. Carolyn Myss, Ph.D. says in Anatomy of the Spirit, “For many people loving oneself remains a vague notion, which we often act out in material ways-through shopping sprees and outrageous vacations. While this type of reward is enjoyable, it can obstruct our contact with the deeper emotional stirrings of the heart that emerge when we need to evaluate a relationship, or a job, or some other troubled circumstance that affects our health.” It’s not money itself, but your thoughts and beliefs about money that has the potential to exacerbate any situation. Unfortunately, the deeper you get in debt, the harder it is to barrel your way out. The only way to permanently address these issues is to confront what you fear most-your relationship with money.

Think about how you perceive money. Do you view it as a way out, a solution to all of your problems? Or do you perceive it to be the opposite, as a devil that’s robbing you of a better life? If you said, “Yes” to either, you’re probably being ruled by your emotions rather than logic when it comes to your finances.

You may be unconsciously using money to feel better about yourself, cope with anxiety, control others, or your life. How can you know for sure? There are a few signs that can help you determine whether you’re using money to the detriment of your financial health. For example, are you in debt currently? Do you feel overwhelmed with managing your debt and try to avoid it, hide it from others and/or rationalize the debt you have? Do you feel better while shopping and worse once you’ve stopped? Do you use money to get what you need from others by buying them things or cutting them off financially? Money will never be the solution to your problems. It can temporarily abate worries directly related to money. For example, it can pay your bills and provide food and shelter for you and your kids. But it won’t bring you love, happiness or even security. Money becomes the problem when we believe it does.

How do you know whether you’re concerns are realistic or are being controlled by your own issues with money?

The bad economy makes it difficult to determine whether your anxiety about and focus on money are realistic. After all, it is socially acceptable to worry about finances. Some of the things mentioned above could even seem understandable, reasonable even. The real sign that your emotional health is ruling your finances, however, is whether you’re continually living above and beyond your means and when you feel unable to seek help and/or participate in routine activities to manage and repair your financial situation.

Continued on page 3: Money »

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