A Money Coach in Canada

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Your new car. Your new relationship. Your new Fleuvogs. Your amazing vacay. Your promotion.

If you’re like everyone else, cold, hard science says these things will bring you a boost in your well-being for a length of time between a few weeks to a few months, then it’s right back to however happy you felt (or didn’t) before these entered your life. (As a point of interest, a study in Germany found getting married provided a boost for 2 years on average, before the individuals reverted to their baseline experience of happiness). Why does this happen? We are hard-wired to adapt to, as in get used to new and good things in our life and take them for granted. Kinda sucks, but there you have it.

Want to get the most happiness for your buck?

A recent study gives two clear ways we can significantly slow down the adaptation process.

1. Active appreciation of the new item or experience. Appreciation is the psychological opposite of adaptation say the authors of the study. It amplifies the various good components of the new item thereby regenerating the feel good responses. It turns out those gratitude journals are probably extending your happiness and lowering your need to buy the next bright, shiny object.

2. Variations of the new item maintain the feel good responses as well. For example, new apps on your iPhone bring back its original sexiness and thrill. Or using your new car for different purposes – road trip, carpool, volunteering – will sustain your sense of pleasure in your new vehicle.

photo credit: hurricainemaine

Produce way up where I live is expensive enough without the extra premium of organic. That’s not to say I won’t pay it; I do. But if I can get reasonably clean produce without paying that premium, I’d prefer to use my money other ways.

According to the Environmental Working Group in the States (a great resource for folks interested in the environment and everyday lifestyle choices), the following items are pretty clean of pesticides:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado (I’ve blown a month’s salary on this over the years!)
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Canteloupe
  12. Sweet potatoes (presumably as distinct from yams)
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

On the other hand, Kale and Green Beans are of special concern, so spend your money there.

It almost has a cult-like feel to it, but I don’t think it is one.

Maybe the fact that it feels a bit like one reflects how off-course our collective thinking has become. Sometimes we need to, nearly literally, re-wire our neural pathways. This is what Byron Katie helps folks do.

The rewiring ought to result in greater peace, energy and mental clarity – surely something we’d all do benefit from regarding our approach to our money!
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So here’s the pitch.

We can and should challenge each of our distressing thoughts about money (or anything else, for that matter) by asking the following 4 Questions:

1. Is it true?

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without that thought?

and the last challenge is to invert that thought and corroborate that inverted thought with examples.
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For example:

Thought: I might die a bag lady.

1. Is it true?
Well, of course, it might not happen. But it could. And that scares the hell out of me.

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
Uhhh… no.

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
I panic inside. I feel discouraged, hopeless and don’t even want to think about money

4. Who would you be without that thought?
Hmmm. I would feel a lot more serene. I would be more confident and optimistic about my finances, and feel better about paying attention to them. I would no longer engage in self-destructive financial habits. I might even learn to invest and start to build myself a nice little nest egg!

And the turnaround inverts and corroborates the thought:

I am not going to die a bag lady.
Corroboration: I have a job and I actually could live a bit more simply and start building a nest egg. | I have relatives who will leave me an inheritance. It isn’t much, but that will supplement my Old Age Security, and it could supplement my own savings quite nicely. | I am addiction-free and mental-illness free and generally healthy. That does not fit the profile of bag ladies!

The last bit, the turnaround, is designed to open our mind to new ways of thinking which align just as fully as our original thought. It may feel unreal, or unlikely, because we are so accustomed to one way of thinking that these new ones are hard to believe. But over time, our neural pathways should rewire and open up in ways that reduce our anxiety and enable us to relax more about money.

Katie’s site gives tons of free resources. Go play with your brain for a while!

Well this is a little odd.

In Chicago, nearly every single tree on the street downtown has a price attached to it: The value it will return to the environment over the coming year.

Apparently for every $1.00 the City spends on tending the tree, it will return $2.70 in cleaner air, reduced need for air condition due to shade provided, and helping filter polluted water before it goes back into the City sewer system.

Makes you think! Should we be billing the equivalent for every tree that gets cut down?

Anxious about money? Even paralyzed just thinking about it?

Over the next few days I’ll be posting various ideas and possible techniques to break free so that you have the mental and emotional energy you need to deal more effectively with your money.

Here’s one not-the-usual option. It’s called EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s a distant cousin of its more mainstream (and generally accepted by professional psychologists) technique called EMDR .

I recently tried it out on a non-money-related matter to good effect. Did it resolve everything? No way. But it certainly helped calm my anxiety and furthermore created some new possible ways of thinking about the issues.

I’ve embedded a video below that will lead you through the technique. You can find more details on this website here or via a google search. I also recommend a FB friend of mine, Sue Burness. I did a session with her resulting in a couple remarkable insights. You may also be happy to hear she has a pay-as-you-can policy.

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