According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 75 percent of Americans experience some kind of financial stress and almost a quarter of the US population feels extreme financial stress. If you’re one of these individuals, money problems can sometimes seem insurmountable – “How am I ever going to get out of the hole I’m in?”
Believe it or not, therapeutic journaling can help you. Writing about your money fears and the situation you find yourself in can help you to explore options and develop a plan for financial relief and recovery. It starts by creating a system of analyzing the sources of your financial challenges and developing a tool to provide ongoing examination of the root causes of your financial struggles.
Here are several ways journaling can help you solve your money problems:
1. Use journaling to set some goals
To effectively wrap your arms and head around a financial challenge, you need to figure out what you want to accomplish. Do you need to pay off credit cards? Rein in extravagant spending? Develop more income? Establishing goals can help you address your money woes in manageable chunks, reducing your stress and enabling you to take meaningful action. Think about the things you can do right now, next week, next month, and next year. Write them down and review them whenever you feel yourself drifting off track.
2. Journaling can help you examine spending decisions
Use therapeutic journaling to explore some of your worst spending mistakes – why did a particular purchase seem like a good idea and what was the result? Is there something you should have done instead of making that purchase? Finding answers to questions like these can help you avoid making the same mistakes again (and again).
3. Use it to analyze difficult financial situations and reach manageable conclusions
It’s easy to find yourself in a sudden financial pickle. Perhaps your car broke down and needs to be replaced, you lost your job, or you have unexpected medical expenses. Whatever the situation, journaling provides an outlet for examining your financial challenge in a quiet, judgment-free zone so you can determine your options and what the financial impact might be depending on the decision you make.
4. Write your way to certainty
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “money is the root of all evil.” It certainly is the source for a significant amount of marital strife and family conflicts. If major financial decisions are paralyzing you, journaling can help you sort things out and work through the uncertainty.
In the corporate world, there is a technique to get to the root of a problem called “The Five Whys.” It’s a simple but powerful tool that enables you to explore the cause-and-effect relationships that are behind most problems. It involves asking “why?” after writing down a problem. For example, you might be journaling about buying a new house and writing “we can’t afford it.” Ask yourself, “why?” and write the answer down. Then ask “why?” again regarding that answer and keep doing that five times. By the time you get to the last “why?” you’ve reached a deeply personal and honest answer that often points the way to a meaningful solution. What once was uncertain has become certain.
So, you see, journaling really can help you write your way to solutions for your personal money problems. Start with your concerns and goals to address them and then use some of the suggestions in this post to explore various options, reduce your stress, and journal yourself to financial freedom. If you want to learn how to fix personal money problems, please download the free eBook titled The Journaling Guide to Manage The Stress and Strains of Life.