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It seems that almost everyone today is burdened by debt. Our government is in debt to the tune of 11 trillion dollars and we, its citizens have managed to accumulate over 2 trillion dollars in consumer debt alone. Which, if my math is correct, means that together we owe about $56,000 per American in consumer debt, which does not include our mortgages. What’s even more scary is that the National debt continues to climb almost 4 billion dollars a day! What do we do with that?

Well, if I knew the exact answer to that question, I’d be President. But I may have some advice to pass along about how you can begin to overcome and make peace with debt. Here’s some of the advice I give to my clients:

1. Understand that you are not your debt. You debt represents where you are financially, not who you are.

2. Make a commitment to understanding your spending patterns so that you can form a new awareness around your shopping habits and impulses. Keep a small notebook to record both your daily purchases and your mood or emotions at the time of purchase. Notice if you tend to shop or buy impulsively for emotional reasons.   

3. If you have any feelings of guilt or shame associated with being in debt, work on forgiving yourself and releasing the past. The past is history and you can choose to do it differently.

4. Make a Spending Plan that includes both saving and debt repayment to the best of your financial ability. Even little efforts will make a difference and will increase your self-esteem.

5. If your debt load is overwhelming and preventing you from sleeping or
living a normal life, it is important to seek the help of a certified
debt or credit counselor. Remember, you deserve help and support, so reach out for
assistance.

6. Debt can create stress in your life, so integrate stress management techniques into your daily life and nurture yourself by exercising and eating well.

7. If you are feeling deeply depressed, paralyzed or unable to cope with your financial circumstances, seek the help of a therapist or social worker. 

8. If you know deep down that you cannot afford to pay your debts and it’s hurting your health, family or life, seek the advice of an attorney and consider bankruptcy as an option.
Ultimately, bankruptcy is about financial forgiveness and giving people a second chance, which everyone deserves. Know that your life, health and family are far more important than any debts you may owe.

9. Practice gratitude everyday for this one beautiful life you have been given. If you just do the best you can each day to make the most of what you’ve been given, things will work out.

10. Pray and/or meditate daily to maintain your spiritual and financial well-being.

Here’s a prayer for making peace with debt:

Dear God,
Please help me to heal my relationship with money
and to be released from the bondage of debt. Help me
to know that I am not my debt or my financial circumstances.
Help me to know that regardless of my circumstances that my
life has meaning and value. Help me to be kind to myself and to
use my indebtedness as an opportunity to heal and to be closer
to your infinite wisdom.

Give me strength, courage and wisdom and guide me to right action.
Please surround my life with your constant love, light and protection
so that I may know that I am never alone. Thank you for all you have
given me and continue to give me. For this and so much more, my
life is blessed and I am eternally grateful. I surrender all to you with faith
and trust that all will be resolved in time. And so it is.
Amen.

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