Being mindful is a necessary first step when it comes to dealing with your own finances. Taking a break is not only necessary for the well-being of our minds and bodies but also gives us the energy and breathing room to prioritize. Only then can you start developing a viable plan and put it into action. Here are my favorite mantras from yoga teachers that can put your money woes into perspective and guide you on the right path to financial wellness.
Beginning a yoga session with so hum is a way to help me sit on my mat, slow down my thoughts and take deep breaths. I say "So" when I inhale and "Hum" on the exhale. It is also a way to help me start to focus on myself, to focus not only on who I am now, but also who I want to be.
So hum translated from Sanskrit means "I am that." So close your eyes and imagine the best version of yourself — of who you want to be. You are financially resourceful, secure and independent. You are that. Let go of everything else. Say to yourself, "So hum."
At the start of class, the yoga teacher will often tell us: "Set your intention." What goals are you trying to accomplish? Sometimes I think about what I want to do physically — strengthen my core, increase my flexibility. And sometimes I focus on where I want to be mentally by the end of the session. I no longer want to feel overwhelmed or frustrated. I want to find peace.
You need to set your intention when it comes to money, too. What is your immediate goal? Create a budget. Pay down debt. Increase your income. Set the goal, and then devise a plan to reach it. Or perhaps your intention is more about your attitude toward money. You no longer want to beat yourself up for not having saved enough or don't want to fight with your partner about expenses. You want to find peace.
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Whatever your goal, staying focused is not always easy, at least not for me. I had a revelation when a yoga teacher told us to remember to "stay on your mat." Don't worry about other people in class and what they can do, she said. Block out distractions. It can be challenging, but focus on what you can do and what you want to do.
Try to do that when it comes to managing your money. We see what our neighbors, friends and relatives have or don't have and we want to know where we stand in comparison. But it's not about them, it's about you. Stick to your goals. Stay on your mat.
At the end of class, the teacher and students often exchange "namastes" as a gesture of mutual respect. The literal translation of namaste is "I bow to you." It's a courteous greeting as well as a way to say "thank you."
Now that you have spent some time thinking about how you see your best self, who you want to be, and you've set your goals, be thankful. Thank yourself for taking the time to focus on you and what you want. You now have the mindset to develop and execute a plan to manage your money.
You're ready. Namaste.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.