Worrying about money is such an energy drain and it makes us feel terrible. It seems like we are doing something useful when we are worrying but actually it serves no purpose and only serves to stress us out. Today I want to teach you 3 simple actions you can take to stop worrying about money.
In this Money Mindful podcast episode, you will learn:
- How to stop imagining the worst-case scenario
- How to create the best-case scenario for the outcome you want
- How to use your imagination to work for you not against you
- The 3 simple actions I take to stop worrying about money
You can listen to the episode above or read the unedited transcript below.
How To Stop Worrying About Money
Meaghan Smith 00:20
Hello you, and welcome to another episode of the Money Mindful podcast. I'm your host, Meaghan Jean Smith. I'm a money mindset and life coach for women. I help women just like you create the money and life that you want, and also that you deserve. So, one thing that lots of us do about money is worry. So today, I want to help you with some techniques and some tools to help you stop worrying about money, or about anything for that matter. Worry is such a useless thing to do. It's been coming up a bit, actually, I've noticed that lately with some of my clients with making decisions, there's a lot of worry involved with making decisions and worrying about the worst case scenario.
Meaghan Smith 01:25
So I'm going to talk to you today a little bit about best and worst case scenario and how to create that, the best case scenario that is, and then also, I want to give you just some simple, actionable steps that you can take to stop worrying. But first, I want to tell you a little bit about my day and what happened today. So I had work planned today, but I just feel knackered Do you ever have those days? It doesn't happen to me very often. But it's a Friday for me today when I'm recording this. And I just had one of those moments where I thought - I sat down in front of the computer to do some work, and I just felt that fog. Do you get that, that brain fog? And I knew if I just tried to push through and keep working, that I would have achieved probably 10 minutes work in an hour. You know those kind of days, that was the morning that I was having this morning. And so I just decided, You know what, I'm going to go out for a walk, I'm just going to go out and get some fresh air, take care of my body. And before I went out, I did a little exercise, which I'm going to tell you about in a minute.
Meaghan Smith 02:43
But when I went for the walk near my house, I only just discovered this in the last month. Gee, I wish I'd known this had been here through the last four months of lockdown, but not far from where I live there's a bush track that's walking distance from my home. And it's gorgeous. If you follow me on Instagram, you might see sometimes in my stories, I post photos. I usually go for this particular walk on the weekend now, but I went up there this morning. And it's quite bushy. I mean, the track is very narrow and you really are walking along, you're brushing up against scrub as you're walking along this little dirt track and there's a bit of scampering across rocks.
Meaghan Smith 03:34
But there was this one moment on the walk back where I felt something on my arm and I looked down and I saw this big spider on my arm. Listen, I'm in Australia, okay, so we have lots of spiders and snakes and all these kind of things. And I instantly in a split second brushed my other hand over my arm and got rid of the spider, just like that, like it took a second. You know, not even - it went like this. I felt contact on my arm, felt something, I looked down at my arm and then within a second my other arm had come across and just wiped the spider away. Gone. Problem solved. Now, why am I telling you this? Well, this is something that we do that relates to worry and I will cycle back to this in just a second.
Meaghan Smith 04:39
But first I just wanted to let you know that our brain is wired for worry. That's what we do. We look for worst case scenario. Right? We all do it. If you worry a lot about money or just worry about things in your life, nothing's gone wrong. Okay? It's a normal thing, we all do it. But I want to offer you the perspective that it's useless and there's absolutely no point in worrying. And worrying poses as a useful activity, right? Like, if something happens, our mind likes to worry about it and it kind of feels like we're doing something, right? When we're worrying it feels like we're taking action towards something, we're somehow working towards solving the issue, but we're actually not. Worrying does not solve any issues. And here's why it relates to this spider story that I just told you.
Meaghan Smith 05:47
So when something happens, that you feel like you need to worry about, in the actual moment, you never worry, you just do what you need to do. You always know what to do. Okay? And this story that I just told you illustrates that. When I looked down and saw the spider on my arm, I did not pause and worry that I had a spider on my arm. I didn't look at the spider and think, oh, my gosh, what should I do about this? What are the different solutions that I could possibly do to get rid of this spider? I'm really not sure what's going to happen. Should I wipe the spider off my arm with my other arm? Is that going to work? Should I get a stick from the tree? And wipe it away? Should I squash it and kill it? Should I call out to someone to help me? Oh my gosh, I'm so worried about this spider on my arm. No, I didn't do any of that. I just got my hand and wiped the spider off immediately. I knew exactly what to do in the moment when I was in trouble, so to speak.
Meaghan Smith 07:15
And can you see what I mean by that? Like, if I had started worrying about a spider being on my arm, it would have served absolutely zero purpose. But this is what we do all the time. We, you know, how many times have you worried about your kids, if you're anything like me, lots of times, okay? Or worried about money, your financial situation, or you were thinking about something that you'd like to do. Like in my client's instance, this week, I was coaching a client and she's thinking about moving back to her hometown, but she's worrying about all the things that might - like all the worst case scenario things about moving back, like maybe her partner won't like it, maybe she'll move back to her old town and then realise she doesn't like it anymore, and wish that she was where she still is now.
Meaghan Smith 08:12
And we get into this cycle of worry, we just worry about things all the time, and it just doesn't help us, okay? Worrying about something is not going to help you get more money, it's not going to help you work out what to do. It just puts you in a spin, makes you feel terrible. And I want to help you with some techniques now to get out of it. So the first one is the example I just gave you. So it's knowing and trusting that in the moment, you will know what to do. Right? Just like my spider story. Or just like when you put your hand down on the hot plate on the stove, you're not going to stand there with your hand on the hot stove thinking, Oh no, my hand's on the hot stove. What should I do? You're just going to take your hand straight off. Alright?
Meaghan Smith 08:12
And if you pause for a moment, and if you pause listening to this podcast, you could probably just take a moment and think back to something in your life, a challenging situation. It could be something recent or it could be something that happened in the past where you might have spent a lot of time worrying about it. But actually, in the end you knew what to do. Like when push got to shove you knew what to do. Right? You knew how to handle it and you did handle it. Right? This is what we do, we work it out. In the moment, we always know what to do. Okay, so that's the first one. Know and trust that in the moment you will know what to do.
Meaghan Smith 09:54
The second tip here, the second point is, so just what I was saying before, we usually go to worst case scenario in our brain, that's like a natural thing to do. Our brain just does that. It's always on the lookout for danger, what might hurt us, what might go wrong, okay? That's our survival brain keeping us alive. That's its job. That's what it does. But in the day to day of making decisions and deciding what we're going to do, this is really not helpful. Because what happens is we're always imagining the worst case scenario. And the key word that I just said there is imagining.
Meaghan Smith 10:43
Like, often when we go to do something, you know, like something financial, like we want to buy a house, for instance, but we're so worried. We're worried about having a loan, we're worried that the house might have something wrong with it, we worry that we might make a mistake, we worry that buying the house with our partner might not work out, or, you know, like, there's just so many things that we imagine could go wrong. But we're quite literally just using our imagination in our brain. We don't know that it's going to go wrong. We're just imagining all the things that could go wrong.
Meaghan Smith 11:25
The alternative to that is rather than imagine what could go wrong, why don't you imagine the best case scenario, like imagine everything working out. So in the case of my client, this example, like if she moves back to her hometown, she could equally be spending this time thinking about how amazing it could be, how she could move back and just realise that was the best decision that she could have made that, you know, her partner settles in there, and just absolutely loves it. And she loves it. And she loves being back near her family and friends. And - but normally, we don't do that, right? We spend time worrying. But it's so much more helpful to imagine best case scenario.
Meaghan Smith 12:15
And this is what I did this morning, if we circle back to what I first told you, before I went out for the walk. So what I did this morning, before I went for a walk was I just quickly jotted down, that I was going to go for a walk, I was imagining best case scenario, I was thinking in my mind, I'm going to go for a walk, I'm going to get lots of fresh air. I'm going to look around and feel really energised from being out in the bush and hearing the birds and seeing the lizards and getting some vitamin D from the sun. And then I'm going to come back, like I literally wrote this stuff down, I said, I'm going to come back and I'm going to feel recharged. And I'm just going to get my podcast recorded this afternoon and I'm going to get the things done that I need to do. I'm going to get way more done than I expect. And I'm just going to feel energised, and it's going to be the best thing for me to do.
Meaghan Smith 13:10
And guess what, that's what happened. I didn't worry, I didn't spend time worrying that I wasn't getting work done while I went off for a walk, when I had planned to do work this morning. I just went to imagining the best case scenario. And this is such a simple technique, but oh boy oh boy oh boy, it is so effective. And if you do it regularly, like you train your brain to do this, it's so helpful. I actually shared this example recently on Instagram. And in fact, let me just tell you, I share a lot of stuff on Instagram. So if you're not following me on Instagram, and you didn't even know I had an Instagram account, what's happening, go and check it out. It's @meaghanjsmith. I do lots of stories and little IG TVs and things with little snippets and teaching points and little helpful bits, but I shared this on there, but I'll share it with you because I know not everyone's into social media.
Meaghan Smith 14:20
But basically, I had a photoshoot recently. I was nervous, okay? I often have found that I feel awkward posing in front of the camera, right? But my business is at a stage now where I can only take so many selfies in my office, right? Like I really wanted some professional photos and in fact, I had these booked months ago, but then we went into a lockdown for months and months so I couldn't get them done. But anyway, I digress. Basically, I felt like I really needed to get professional photos done and I wanted to update my website and do all sorts of stuff, so that's coming. But anyway, I was feeling nervous. And I didn't feel like being nervous was really the energy that I wanted to take into getting photos taken, when I want to use these photos on social media, I want to use these photos on my website. And I really want to convey the energy and vibe of who I am.
Meaghan Smith 15:22
And so what I did is I imagined the best case scenario, right? Instead of imagining worst case scenario, me rocking up and meeting the photographer and feeling nervous and shy or embarrassed or uncomfortable and getting photos that I didn't want, I imagined best case scenario, and I'll read you exactly what I did, because I think it'll be helpful. So I just wrote down: Photoshoot. And then I said, I meet Carly, that was the photographer, and I feel super comfortable. I instantly like her. And I feel like we're going to have a great day, she takes me to locations that are even better than I imagined. I end up actually feeling way more comfortable than I expected. We get some amazing photos and end up laughing a lot. It's actually really fun, and I'm thinking, I can't believe I was worried about this. I receive the photos and they are bloody perfect for what I need.
Meaghan Smith 16:24
And so this was a week ago for me, when I got the photos done. And I can tell you what happened was that I met Carly and I instantly liked her. Her kids were waiting at the bottom of the driveway for me, when I got to her house. We drove down to Manly, which is a beach town in Sydney. And we just got to know each other, we had a chat in the car, I instantly liked her. We started off taking photos somewhere where there weren't really that many people, just to ease into it, and I just started to feel really comfortable. And then - when you pose for photos, you actually have to put your body into positions that you don't normally really put them in because it just looks better in the photos, it actually looks natural in the photos, even though it feels unnatural. And this just cracks me up because I was having to bend my legs and arms in positions that I don't normally put them in when I'm sitting and it was just the funniest thing.
Meaghan Smith 17:30
And so then I just ended up laughing a lot, which is exactly what I wanted, and she got heaps of photos of me laughing and smiling. And anyway, by the end of the day, we had gone to lots of different locations around Manly. It was exactly how I wrote, they were way better than I thought, we got all these photos with amazing textures and backgrounds. And it was so fun. I felt so empowered. And it was liberating. And so I just want you to have that example, as something that I could have spent all the weeks leading up to getting the photos taken, really in worry about it. Right? I could have been worrying, I could have been thinking, oh no, this is terrible, I hate getting my photo taken. But I deliberately chose to focus and imagine, best case scenario. And it works.
Meaghan Smith 18:32
It's such an effective technique, and just a part too of that, which doesn't directly relate to the worry, but it's just a helpful thing, is sometimes we don't do things because we're worried that the worst case scenario is going to happen. But have you ever considered that when you say no to things, because you're worried about the worst case scenario, right, like you don't buy a house because you're worried about getting debt, or you're worried that you're going to not like the house and want to move in a year or something like that - you're also saying no, to best case scenario. Like what if buying that house was the best thing that ever happened to you? Or what if buying, I don't know, that new random thing, investing in shares, or doing a course, or paying for coaching with someone? What if that was actually the best decision that you could have made, and it turns out way better than you think? Right? Like so often we waste so much time worrying about things and we imagine the worst case scenario, and we actually say no to things that we want, because we're afraid of the worst case scenario happening. But whenever we do that, we're equally saying no to the best case scenario. And so often we don't consider that. We don't consider the amazing impact and the awesome things that we're saying no to.
Meaghan Smith 20:16
Alright, anyway, I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information, I really have to rein myself in on these podcasts sometimes, because I just want to tell you all the things, I just want to help you. I want to help you with everything, I want to give you all the information. But I'm not going to do that in every episode, because you'll just be like, Whoa, too much, Meaghan.
Meaghan Smith 20:37
Okay, so there's one more thing that I want to help you with, with how to stop worrying about money, or anything, okay, you can use this with anything. And that is to get present. Get in your body, get in the present moment. And there's lots of different ways that you can do this, okay, and you can just do whatever works for you. Focusing on your breath, breathing. Now, if you don't do this sort of stuff, very often, your mind is going to want to wander straightaway. That's okay. You don't need to beat yourself up about your mind wandering. Just bring it back. Like just really feel the breath going into your chest and stomach, feel it going out. Right, take a few deep breaths. That disconnects your thinking and your worrying, just for a moment, right? And if you do that regularly, you're regularly stopping that worry, okay? You might be going straight back to the worry after you've done it. That's okay, these things take practice. But this is something that really helps you with stopping worrying, it's getting out of that thinking, spinning brain. Another thing is meditation. Exercise. Mindfulness activities. Music.
Meaghan Smith 21:58
Music is a great one. And I use this a lot actually, like I love to listen to classical music when I go for walks, and I really get in the zone, like I listen to the music, I just let it move through my whole body, like I really feel the music and I look at my surroundings, I really pay attention to where I'm walking, like looking at the trees, looking at the sunlight filtering through the leaves. And that is an amazing way for me to get out of worry and just be in the present and be in the moment. Yes, my mind can totally wander as well when I'm listening to music, but I do it often as a practice, like really to get into it, like I'm really putting all my attention on the music. And that's really helpful. Because the more time you spend in your body, like in the present, the less time you spend worrying.
Meaghan Smith 23:02
And you can even do things like touching your - these are called PQ Reps. I won't go into it too much. But basically you can do things to quieten your brain like touching your fingertips together and touching them with such attention that you can feel the little ridges in your fingers, right, like that. There's so many things that you can do with your senses. Touch, looking at things, like being really intrigued, like looking at something and trying to find something that you've never seen before, that quietens your mind down as well. And these are ways to get out of your mind and back into your body. Right? If you've never done those kinds of things before it does take practice. And I'm not suggesting that you could just listen to a song and suddenly, you're never gonna worry about something again. But these are things that over time, if you practise, they really help you become more present.
Meaghan Smith 24:08
So in summary, three things that you can do to stop worrying about money is, one, know and trust that in the moment, you will know what to do. Okay? Think about the spider story. I knew exactly what to do in the moment. I didn't spend time worrying about it. Two, stop imagining worst case scenario. Rather, imagine best case scenario. And you can do this by just imagining in your head, but I recommend actually writing it down, write it out. Write out the best case scenario happening. Because if you're going to imagine something, you might as well imagine best case scenario. And again, this is training your brain to look for the positive, to look for the good, to focus on the best outcome, not focusing on the worst outcome.
Meaghan Smith 25:00
And then the third thing is being present, and practising being in your body, and being in the present moment, is a great way to take you out of worry. And sometimes in the beginning, it can just be giving you a little bit of relief and just a break from it, like just breaking it up. But you could think of these like reps. Like, you know how you build your muscles in a gym, when you're building your muscles, and it takes practice, you don't just walk into the gym and go once and you walk out with a six-pack. Well, these are what these exercises are like, you do it over time. I mean, this imagining best case scenario thing, I do this often. And I tell you, my brain still wants to go to worst case scenario all the time. But I'm just more onto myself now. And I do it deliberately, I practise imagining the best case scenario. It's so helpful.
Meaghan Smith 25:55
Alright. I hope this helps. Before I leave you I just want to let you know that next week it's my birthday, and I've planned a little treat for you guys. I want you to have something special because November is a big month for me. Both my daughters have their birthday and I have my birthday. So I want to spread the love around and be generous and giving and so I've organised a special little treat. I'm putting out something on the podcast for you next week that is only available to purchase in some other domains. I'll tell you about it next week, but I'm giving it to you for free. Which I love. So stay tuned for that little surprise, birthday surprise, for you next week. And until you hear from me again, have a beautiful week. Bye bye.