Something as hard-rooted in reality like debt can feel impervious to positive thought. When everyday decisions are steeped in worry and fear because of financial restrictions, taking a deep breath, repeating an uplifting mantra and putting a smile on your face doesn’t seem like it’ll do anything to change the amount you owe.
Admittedly, happy thoughts can’t eliminate real-world debt. But positive self-talk can assist you in overcoming your debt by improving decision making, honestly addressing bad habits, and lifting your spirits during tough times. Let’s look at how positive self-talk helps in the battle to overcome debt.
Slowing Decisions Down
Whether it’s money woes, an illness of a loved one, or otherwise, when we’re overwhelmed by unpleasant thoughts, we’re not able to make sound decisions. Anxiety, for example, reduces the brain’s capacity to screen out distractions by numbing a group of neurons in the prefrontal cortex involved in decision making. With certain connections shut down, it’s more difficult for the brain to screen out irrelevant information and make better choices.
Curbing anxiety isn’t easy, but trying to slow down the moment can help root our minds back in reality instead of the constant inward thoughts that happen automatically and reduce our ability to think clearly.
Getting to the Root of Bad Habits
Struggling to make decisions not only causes short-term internal strife; it can develop damaging long-term habits. Whether it’s routine shopping therapy or over-indulgent holiday shopping, many of us, debtors or not, continue practicing bad habits without stopping to ask ourselves why we have those habits in the first place.
Facing a fundamental issue head-on isn’t easy; it forces us to be aware and either make a change or knowingly languish in stagnation. Whether it’s through activities like meditation and journaling, or with the help of a therapist, breaking down the emotions that are powering your bad habit will help to break it. If you still struggle with overcoming your bad habits, it’s helpful to follow financial thought leaders like like Andrew Housser at Freedom Financial Network or author and radio host Dave Ramsey.
Going through the long process of making progress on debt can be a tour of every negative emotion in the book. From resentment and jealousy to depression, it can be hard to see any positive aspect of our situation. This is especially true if we start comparing ourselves to those without debt.
Practicing gratitude is all about being thankful for what you do have, no matter how small. Being cognizant of what you don’t have breeds a longing that manifests in unbecoming ways. Gratitude tightens the gap between “want” and “have” to bring us peace and contentment with our present. When we’re not trying to overcompensate for a negative state of mind, we’re more likely to feel confident and empowered, which gives us the strength to keep paying down our debt and feel better while doing so.
Turn Money-Generating Opportunities into a Game
Eliminating bad spending habits, exercising more thoughtful decision-making and being thankful are all useful tools that can make debt more manageable to handle.
However, at the end of the day, an overall lifestyle needs to be adapted to overcome debt. Many debtors think this equates to saving money, but making more money should be the real goal. You might not have time to pick up a side job or have things to sell at your place, but other ways to make money exist.
Focus on the options that fit your circumstance and don’t give the other ones a second thought. Set a monthly goal for your side hustle and treat it like a game. If you want peer motivation, compete with a friend to see who can earn more through unconventional side hustles.
Positive self-talk in itself won’t solve your debt. But the mind is a powerful tool that can give you the outlook and energy necessary to turn your intentions into actions.