Georgia is a person of resilience and determination, both with her dreams and goals, and her emotions. Supporting a family of 5, financial success carried paramount weight for her. Regardless of how much she worked or how tired she was, she kept going. But one thing that seemed to be in her way was letting bad days takeover everything she was doing. Whether it be her behaviour at work or at home, a single unforeseen negative outcome was enough to develop an inner monster that would control everything she felt and did for the rest of the day. But she simply did not have enough time to address this recurring issue. She tried forcing herself to remain happy, ignoring all the negative circumstances.
That didn’t work either.
Georgia is not alone in her experience. Our emotions can play a substantial role in our behaviour and actions. But only if we let it. Nowadays, positive emotions are considered to be the opposite of negative emotions. Wherever we want to escape reality, we cope by overshadowing the sorrow and pain of reality with an excessive amount of positivity – similar to a drug. It might simply be human nature to have the desire to feel happy in the midst of stress and confusion after all. However, forcing positivity is not the answer to this problem in the case where the problem lies in your strong emotions affecting your behaviours. As simple as balancing an old fashioned scale with two things on both sides, a balance can also be maintained when making decisions between emotions and logic, in addition to preserving emotional stability. The key aspect of this equilibrium can be achieved by practising mindfulness and emotional neutrality.
Mindfulness is an attainable quality of being fully aware of what you are feeling in the moment.1 In this fast-paced lifestyle we live in, it can be difficult acknowledge your emotions without judgement or criticism.2 However, this quality can help establish a link between your emotions and your reason without either of them affecting the other. This provides an outlook in life that is more than surviving, rather for flourishing and growing.3 On the other hand, emotional neutrality is the process of removing polarising emotions from the financial decision making realm. It allows us to use the skill of mindfulness to discern our emotions from our logic in order to prevent our emotions from hijacking the decision making process and turning a blind eye to reality. By getting in touch with our emotions through mindfulness, we can practice emotional neutrality which lets us face our troubles without bias created by a skewed view of reality.
However, this should not be confused with the stigma around money that our emotions are insignificant in any aspect of risk management. Our emotions are a unique dataset that gives us insights on how we perceive our reality. Although it is crucial to distinguish that they are not a reflection of reality, it still is an important indicator of where you are mentally. For some, financial decisions can bring out anxious and stressful thoughts more than others. Rather than brushing them off and ignoring them as something “subjective”, you can use it as a starting point as to why it is demanding and where those emotions are coming from – it allows us to dig down to the roots to identify the original source of the problem. By doing so, the need of creating a false reality diminishes to the point where you don’t have to be scared of feeling something and affecting you uncontrollably.
Going back to Georgia, we see that she tried to compensate her sadness and struggles with false happiness. We now know how that is a Band-Aid solution without a permanent benefit. It is good to feel the ups, but it is important to feel the lows to know where you stand. Because without the ocean full of emotions, the ship won’t sail.
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, September 15). Can mindfulness exercises help me? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356
- KOREN, A. D. A. M., & MARKLE, E. L. I. Z. A. B. E. T. H. (2022, January 14). 4 ways to bring mindfulness to your money habits. Mindful. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://www.mindful.org/4-ways-to-bring-mindfulness-to-your-money-habits/
- Sutton, J. (2021, December 7). The importance of mindfulness: 20+ reasons to practice mindfulness. PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/importance-of-mindfulness/