I know the markets feel crazy now. We’re seeing big stock market swings, scary health news, and economic uncertainty. There hasn’t been this much volatility in many, many years. Is this the beginning of another dramatic recession? Will there be a global health crisis like one we haven’t seen in our lifetimes?
I don’t know. But, here is what I do know…
The worst financial move you can make now is to worry. You might be saying, “yah Ellen, that’s a little Pollyanna-ish given what’s going on don’t you think?” Yup. That’s right. Maybe it is all sunshine and rainbows. But here’s why it’s sound financial advice.
Worry is a weak response.
At best maybe you’ll just lose a few nights sleep. On the other hand, worry can also lead to really bad decision making which can cause expensive mistakes.
What kind of decisions do you make when you are freaked out (and sleep deprived)? Think back on a time when you were really filled with fear and jumped to react. Was this your finest hour? Did you act in ways that you later regretted? I know for me whenever I’ve taken action from a place of fear it was a bad move.
When you are in deep worry and fear, you likely can’t access the higher thinking parts of your brain to come up with good solutions. Calming down your thoughts and emotions will not only feel better, but also allow you to find solutions that make sense.
If worry is a weak reaction, what is a resilient response? How do you create more calm around your finances?
Here are 5 quick ideas:
- Start with quieting your ohhhhh so chatty mind. Take a walk in nature, watch your breath, work out, or do whatever you need to create some mental space for clear thinking. Also, turn off the friggin’ news. Whether you watch TV or ingest news online. Turn it off. It is guaranteed to make you feel worse. If you must watch something, here are a few of my favorite feel better shows:
- Jane The Virgin – this is my current addiction. So good and – a warning here – there are a lot of seasons, so it’s an investment in time.
- Younger – so light and funny.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – of course you know this is entertaining. Here’s my brush with fame – a picture with me and Steven when we met Rachel Brosnahan.
- Do a reality check. Will market fluctuations actually make a difference in the short run for you? If you have enough cushion for short to medium term needs you likely don’t need to be concerned. Markets go up and markets go down. You’ve likely been through this before. Need some help with this? Call your advisor. Talk to a trusted friend.
- Focus on what is working. Okay I know this is so “Oprah-ish” but it works. Focusing on what you are grateful for is a proven way to increase happiness and reduce stress. You are likely very far from really not being okay. Here’s a short video with more on this.
- Up the velocity of your generosity. Sounds backwards, right? If you’re worried about money, why would you give some away? I promise you when you loosen your grip on money and help those less fortunate you will feel better and for many people they see a boomerang effect with money flowing back to them.
- Focus on what you can control. You can control (eventually) your thoughts, your feelings and your actions. You can’t control the stock market, the economy as a whole or the media. Maybe you’ll feel better if you cut back on spending, up your marketing efforts, or get more organized. You decide. But getting into action will move you ahead much more quickly than a worry-fest.
If you want a bit more on this, here’s a video that I shot a while back – but it still holds true today.
Inhale, exhale, remember to control what you can and let go of the rest.
Every good wish,