Money and (un)happiness

  • April 11, 2017
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  • jessahlum

Money cannot buy happiness. Sometimes I think otherwise. Sometimes I think that a shopping spree at J. Crew, or a vacation to someplace tropical, or a West Elm redesign is what my life is lacking. Sometimes I think if all my debt was paid I would have a different perspective. But I know that these are just ways of distracting.

Last week reaffirmed the truth. Happiness comes from within.

If you were to ask me how my week was, I would report all good things. New clients. Positive feedback. Self care. It was truly a great week!

But on Friday I started getting a really low feeling. Often on Fridays I feel this way and chalk it up to being tired. But my week was very balanced and my energy tank full.

Being a super self aware person, I have a habit of connecting my ever changing moods to the various elements of health. If I am feeling down and can point to a cause, I can create solutions. If I know what is working, perhaps I can cultivate more.

In my history of unhappy times, financial health has been the most obvious source of my stress. This goes back to my childhood messages about money as a scarcity. So on Friday when I was doing my habitual “what could the problem be?” exploration, since I wasn’t tired, I began contemplating if the solution to my happiness was somehow related to money.

I mean, it’s April so I have the quintuple whammy of LLC filings, personal filings, and accountant fees on top of an estimated quarterly payment, and a secretary of state LLC report. I am also going on a relatively impromptu trip at the end of the month which is costly in itself, but also means I am away from work for 10 days. (You’ll want to follow next months blogs as I dive into exactly what this trip is all about, so stay tuned). And lastly, I paid for a big time national exam for health and wellness coaches, on top of planning for all my other April bills and half of May (seeing as how I’ll be on that trip and all)- whew!

Despite the recipe for financial stress, that also did not fit to explain my mood. I have had great coaching around my financial stressors, have created plans to save, and stay on top of these cluster expenses, so I’m good there too.

Since I quickly ruled out the most likely scenarios, I had to do what any mindful individual does when they fall into a mood…just roll with it. I didn’t judge it, or try to change it, and I certainly didn’t go out spending a bunch of money thinking material goods could shift my blues.

Since happiness comes from within, I gave myself the chance to connect with my inner wisdom (be quiet and no complaining). From out of no where I got a really clear message of what I wanted to do.  It was to get on my bike a take a long ride. I hadn’t been on my bike to really ride for over 2 years and I hadn’t even been thinking about it. I just slowed down, overrode the impulse to obsess about or distract through money, and arrived at a really authentic place for self directed action.

The bike ride, the act of actually doing it, shifted my mood. It turned my blues around and didn’t cost a thing. It reinforced how easy it is to use money as a distraction or scapegoat, and how money (be it a mess or all straightened out) cannot determine our happiness.

How often do you allow money to be the source of your (un)happiness?