Debt Managements

How physical therapy affects my approach to finances

By Vicki Munro

Today I thought I would share with you how my experience with somatic healing influences my approach to finances. First, I just want to say how much I enjoyed Ashley’s last post, which inspired this reflection of mine! Although I haven’t seen the documentary you mentioned yet, I think her summary touched on a lot of the economic uncertainties that have caused me financial anxiety over the years.

There is a lot in the world of finance that cannot be guaranteed. I just watched a Great words from Dennis Hearn In which I mentioned that economics is one of the most inaccurate and complex sciences. The lack of consensus and predictability within the economy has left me feeling very helpless when it comes to finances at times.

Dealing with economic uncertainty

For example, future stock market returns cannot be predicted with 100% certainty. I can estimate the rate of return that my retirement fund will produce based on historical averages. But in theory, climate change could impact the stock market, or inflation could be higher than I think over the next few decades and hurt my retirement plans.

The more I learned about economic uncertainties like recessions and sequence return risks, the more anxious I became. Knowledge is power, right? So having a budget, a good credit score, and all that financial knowledge should have made me feel secure. But I became more concerned the more I immersed myself in the world of personal finance and tried to improve my finances!

Focusing too much on “what if”

I focused so much on the “unknowns” and “what ifs” that could be on the horizon, that I felt deeply and unnecessary anxiety. Through somatic therapy, I realized that feelings of psychological and financial security come from recognizing your resources and the things that are within your control.

This seems so obvious when I state it clearly, that I wonder why I didn’t realize it sooner! But anxiety is not rational and my mind can be overly emotional at times, making it difficult to process the obvious facts of life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the serenity prayer, but I never really internalized it until this last round of treatment.

Determine my sources and areas of control

Once I made this shift in mindset, I was able to start recognizing, celebrating, and feeling grateful for my resources, which… Psychology experts know that:

“Psychosocial resources are the skills, beliefs, talents, and individual personality factors that influence how people manage stressful events. They include self-esteem, optimism, a sense of mastery, active coping skills, and social support.”

One of my resources is my financial knowledge. Although it may not protect me from every economic risk out there, it puts me in a better position to identify and mitigate potential risks. Focusing on this resource rather than the uncertainty allows me to combat financial anxiety.

The other resource I’ve come to know is my husband. Women are often discouraged from thinking of their husbands as financial partners because of the possibility of divorce or financial infidelity. I started to deconstruct that narrative and live in my truth, which is that I can trust and depend on my wife financially and in life. This has given me a greater sense of financial and relationship peace.

My frugality and savings that I have built over the past few years are also resources that help me feel secure. Instead of focusing solely on the debt I still have, I often remind myself that I can count my savings as resources. I don’t have enough saved for retirement or a fully paid-off house yet. But I can celebrate every step of the journey and allow myself to feel an increased sense of financial peace from every dollar I put into my savings.

Feeling empowered by the things that are within my control

Obviously the things I have control over financially are my budget, savings rate, financial strategy, career moves, etc. I used to focus intensely on those areas I could control and relentlessly try to improve them, all in a misguided attempt to eliminate economic uncertainty. Now through therapy I know that it is impossible to get rid of all the “what ifs”. Instead of micromanaging things that I have full or partial control over, I allow them to make me feel empowered.

Instead of focusing on all the “I can’t” and things that happen to Me, I focus on all the things I want Can carrying out. This shift from learned helplessness to empowerment has been huge for me.

Make money feel embodied

A big part of somatic therapy is learning how to be more aware and connected to your body. There is so much focus on automation in the world of personal finance that it makes me feel disconnected from my money (in the same way I used to feel “disconnected” from my body). For example, instead of manually transferring money into savings, I used to take myself out of the process completely and use automatic deposits.

I’m trying to figure out how to make finances feel more “embodied” and less “on autopilot,” much like my growing connection to my body. I’ve been taking more baths, doing more exercise and yoga/stretching, and using a lot of grounding techniques to feel centered in myself. Now I want to take it one step further and feel fully embodied in my financial life.

Somatic therapy has given me a deeper, more authentic sense of self. My mind and body became more integrated and calm, and I was no longer as prone to anxiety and panic attacks as I was before. My decisions seem to be guided by rationality and inner wisdom rather than ever-changing emotions. It’s amazing how much tuning into the present moment can improve your life.

Developing presence in my financial life

I want to feel the same sense of presence and peace while managing my finances. I don’t want to feel anxious or even neutral when I make a purchase or transfer money to savings. I want to feel joy and celebration! After all, money is a blessing, so it should be spent and saved with gratitude. I hope that, with the help of my therapist, I can begin to create a truly positive relationship with money and see it as a resource rather than a source of anxiety.

I’m thinking about creating a video series or social media posts about how I try to build a positive relationship with money. Do you think this is a good idea? Do the ideas I’ve expressed here resonate with you at all? I would love to be able to help others struggling with financial anxiety get out of it by sharing my experience, but I’m not sure how I can be a resource for others!

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Great documentary review

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