When we don’t feel equipped to shift our thinking, we tend to immediately turn to our environment for comfort. This usually comes in short-lived bouts of instant gratification – spending money on something that will make you feel better. Or at least that’s how your mind rationalizes it in the moment.
You likely will feel better – for a short while – and then you’re back to where you were before.
Unhappiness causes you to lose sight of the “big picture.”
Unhappiness tends to give us laser-like focus on the present moment, clearing out all thoughts of our bigger picture plans and goals. Your mind cannot imagine anything being bigger than this moment – if it did, you wouldn’t feel the need to wallow in your unhappiness.
Once you’ve stopped thinking about the bigger picture, your capacity for saving, or putting off purchases is instantly diminished. All that matters is right here, right now.
Unhappiness makes you think that you aren’t enough.
If you truly were aware of your own power and capacity for greatness, you’d likely be able to recognize that you can change any unpleasant situation you’re currently in, and your happiness doesn’t have to be permanent.
But unhappiness has the tricky ability of making us believe that we simply don’t have the power within ourselves to turn things around. So we try to patch the hole of our inadequacies with stuff – inanimate objects that clearly are less equipped to turn our situation around than we are.
Unhappiness makes you uncomfortable. Like really uncomfortable.
Unhappiness isn’t our natural state of being. It just isn’t. And just like being ill, any time we aren’t in our natural state of being, it feels incredibly uncomfortable.
So what do we do when we’re uncomfortable? We try to distract ourselves with things that don’t matter because even the temporary relief feels much better than sitting with our own uncomfortable thoughts. Thus, we spend money on distractions.
What can you do to save your finances from your own unhappiness?
Step 1: Recognize what you’re dealing with
Oftentimes feelings start affecting our actions before we even recognize them for what they are. But you can’t do much to change anything if you don’t know what you’re feeling and why.
Spend some time reflecting on what is going on in your life and why you’re struggling with unhappiness in the first place. Know what you’re dealing with so you know how to move forward.
Step 2: Get used to sitting with it
The thing with uncomfortable emotions is they are persistent. They are like a small child pulling on your pant leg. They will continue to pester you, probably growing louder as time passes, until you fully acknowledge them.
So it’s time to get used to being uncomfortable without rushing out to placate the emotion with things “out there.” The good news is, the quicker you are to face it, the more likely it is to dissipate before your budget has gone up in flames.
Step 3: Concentrate on the moment
When we’re paralyzed with unhappiness, we are really only capable of handling and thinking about one moment at a time. That means it should be your mission to do one thing – aside from spending – to make yourself feel better in this moment.
If you don’t have a few go-to’s (think taking a walk, reading, writing in a journal), get to brainstorming. You’ll need these replacement activities handy in order to avoid that urge to spend.
Step 4: Reach out
There’s a lot to be said for having a support system you can easily access that will keep you on track and thinking positively when it’s needed the most. Make sure you have yours in place and that you are open and willing to reach out when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
A conversation with a friend or family member will do much more to improve your state of mind than any purchase you may make. That’s almost a guarantee.