The fi­nan­cial cost of neg­a­tive emo­tions

CityPress - - Tenders - Ureke is the au­thor of Man­ag­ing Emo­tions for Fi­nan­cial Free­dom: The In­vis­i­ble Forces Driv­ing your Money Habits

In 2014, the an­tide­pres­sant drug Prozac was pre­scribed for about 14 mil­lion peo­ple around the world. You may know some­one who is us­ing Prozac, or you might be. If you play back the events lead­ing up to your an­tide­pres­sant pre­scrip­tion, you may re­alise that you were stressed about some­thing in your life.

There has been an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple who are seek­ing help with money is­sues as they strug­gle with symp­toms such as in­creased anx­i­ety, stress, de­pres­sion, low self-es­teem, sleep de­pri­va­tion and fa­tigue. Th­ese is­sues have an ad­verse ef­fect on health, re­sult­ing in pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tion costs or med­i­cal bills.

Per­sonal fi­nance man­age­ment is­sues are en­tirely emo­tional, re­gard­less of peo­ple’s aca­demic or fi­nan­cial sta­tus – whether you are stuck in debt and strug­gling to get out, or you want to make more money and you just do not know how, or you want to pro­tect or grow it.

Of­ten, how­ever, peo­ple look at num­bers when deal­ing with or ad­dress­ing their fi­nan­cial is­sues, in­stead of look­ing at what is caus­ing them.

Fi­nan­cial is­sues are symp­toms of an un­der­ly­ing emo­tional prob­lem. Very few peo­ple recog­nise that their emo­tions in­flu­ence their fi­nan­cial sta­tus.

In fact, many peo­ple do not know what their emo­tions are cre­at­ing or cost­ing them.

Neg­a­tive emo­tional states con­trib­ute to re­la­tion­ship prob­lems, health is­sues and fi­nan­cial chal­lenges – in­clud­ing a re­luc­tance to fol­low a bud­get, over­spend­ing, in­debt­ed­ness, im­pul­sive buy­ing and col­lec­tive con­scious­ness (do­ing what ev­ery­one around you is do­ing).

The truth is that all the key ar­eas of our lives (so­cial, phys­i­cal, spir­i­tual, fam­ily, ca­reer, men­tal and fi­nan­cial) can make or cost us money in a ful­fill­ing or un­ful­fill­ing way, based on the emo­tions we ex­pe­ri­ence in that area. For ex­am­ple, di­ets do not fail; peo­ple fail at di­ets. Do you know some­one who has tried dif­fer­ent di­ets, bought slim­ming tablets and other quick fix reme­dies, and didn’t achieve re­sults, yet they spent money on the prod­ucts any­way?

Sav­ings plans do not fail; peo­ple fail at sav­ings plans. Does this sound fa­mil­iar? Are you some­one who puts a cou­ple of hun­dred rands in a sav­ings ac­count only to take itout and spend it be­fore the end of the month? Do you put money into an in­vest­ment ac­count, only to take it back be­fore it has earned you any re­turns? Have you made a loss be­cause re­turns can only be re­alised over a longer pe­riod?

Re­la­tion­ships do not fail; peo­ple fail at re­la­tion­ships. When peo­ple get mar­ried be­cause of fear of re­jec­tion and des­per­a­tion for in­ti­macy, they avoid dis­cussing fi­nan­cial is­sues and hope love will sus­tain them through it all, only to be faced with di­vorce a cou­ple of months or years later.

As my col­league Ma­gauta Mphahlele, a spe­cial­ist in debt coun­selling, once put it so elo­quently: it is of­ten only then that they re­alise they have “sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted debt”.

They now have to share their pen­sion or pay off debts they didn’t ac­crue them­selves be­cause they were too scared to ad­dress fi­nan­cial is­sues at the be­gin­ning of the re­la­tion­ship. We all know that mar­riages cost money when they start and when they end.

The ques­tion to ask is: Why do I fail at my money goals, lifestyle goals or re­la­tion­ships?

The an­swer lies in dom­i­nant neg­a­tive emo­tions that we are un­able to man­age. As long as we make de­ci­sions based on fear and live in sur­vival mode, we will never achieve ful­fill­ing fi­nan­cial re­sults.

All neg­a­tive emo­tions re­gard­ing money or any other as­pect of our lives have their foun­da­tion in fear – fear of not hav­ing enough, fear of not be­ing good enough, fear of not do­ing enough, fear of fail­ure, fear of los­ing money and so forth.

And all that fear is, re­ally, is a lack of knowl­edge or a lack of in­for­ma­tion.

We of­ten hear that knowl­edge is power. To con­quer fear, we have to plan to ac­quire knowl­edge in the key ar­eas of our lives, which is why I reg­u­larly ask peo­ple what their per­sonal de­vel­op­ment bud­get is. And the per­sonal growth bud­get is not for for­mal ed­u­ca­tion alone, it is also for in­for­mal ed­u­ca­tion in all the key ar­eas of our lives that trig­ger fear-based emo­tions, such as self-knowl­edge, mar­riage, par­ent­ing, health and lifestyle, spir­i­tu­al­ity, men­tal, fi­nan­cial, so­cial and ca­reer.

Any area in your life where you are not empowered al­lows some­one or some­thing to over­power you. Neg­a­tive emo­tions are no ex­cep­tion; they can over­power you and cost you money when you do not un­der­stand them, their source and how to man­age them.

By Mavis Ureke, hu­man be­hav­iour spe­cial­ist emo­tion­s4­suc­


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