From fear to relief – What it’s REALLY like living with financial anxiety!


Published: 20 Mar 2023

Breakthrough Coaching

Many people are feeling the pinch right now and have less than they would like in their bank account. They meet their basic needs and maybe have to think a bit more about what they spend their money on.

Covid hasn’t helped. Successful business owners feeling ‘less than’ because their revenue has downturned. Many humans – whether you realise it or not, wake up, live with, or go to sleep with an emotional state around money.

For people with big money worries, that state is fear! Fear they won’t be able to keep a roof over their head. Fear they will lose their car. Not have money for food. Have money only for poor quality food. No money for petrol. Have debtors chasing them. Have the power or phone cut off.

It’s easy to make assumptions about the ‘type’ of people who get themselves into this state. The reality is there is no trend. It can happen to anyone! Sometimes it’s the end result of a series of events. Sometimes it happens in a heartbeat!

If this sounds like you, you’re in good company. That’s me too. I’ve been there. More than once. The fear never quite goes away, even when you’re back on your feet. It lurks, ominously, getting into your head when you least expect it.

Imagine even on the most beautiful of days, even in the most beautiful of settings feeling that fear! People with financial anxiety don’t have the luxury of thinking about other things, of prioritising other things. They only have one thing on their mind – lack of money.

Ironically just at the time you should be hustling and taking action to get yourself out of this hole, your body shuts down. The self-doubt, depression, dark thoughts take over.  You have no energy. The sadness you feel is bone deep. The failure you feel is isolating. You don’t want to burden others with it. Many people in your life may not know how bad things have become for you.

So, how do we breakthrough this, and find a way, not only forward – but through to the other side? How do we shift from fear to relief.

Because if you resonate with this topic, you’ll also know the next stage. RELIEF. When you’ve pulled off a miracle. You landed a new client just on the day you needed one. You got offered an extra shift or a promotion at work. Someone loaned you some money, or was kind to you in another way. They paid for food, brought you food, paid for petrol.

The difference it makes when you go to bed and actually sleep that night is quickly restorative. The next morning when you wake up and the emotional state is relief instead of fear, you feel hopeful. All of a sudden you can now concentrate on other things. Things are still in a state of flux, but the storm is calming. You can go places because you have petrol in your car. You can eat better so you have more energy.

Behavioural Psychologists and Body Language Scientist Paul and Eve Ekman created a system for classifying emotions called the Atlas of Emotions. It was commissioned by the Dalai Lama. The emotion of relief sits under the heading of…….enjoyment!

The relief stage is so bitter sweet. You are wary. Your body shifts for the first time in days from flight, fight, or freeze. To calm.

What if you could shift even further from relief to consistent calmness? To stability, security, safety?

The anxiousness we feel around money comes from a state of uncertainty – as with most types of anxiety. So, if we can make our situation more stable, more certain, the anxiety diminishes and maybe even leaves. Yes, it may lurk around the corner, but we don’t make eye contact with it anymore, or look for it.

The thing that makes the hole even deeper when we are in the state of fear is that we’ve been here before. And that makes it a million times worse. Every time, we say “I’m never EVER going to be in this position again.” Until the next time we are.

And by then the fear is like compound interest – it’s grown. We feel even more of a failure. Beat ourselves up. Think and act harshly to ourselves. There is no space for self-compassion.

Here’s the kicker. If we had a friend going through financial worries, we’d be kind to them – wouldn’t we? We’d say things like: “Remember how far you’ve come. You’re amazing.” “You’ll get through this. I’m here for you.”

We’d do something to help them recognise the impermanence of where they are. We’d support and encourage them to get out of the perseverative loop that they are in.

When we are in the fear state about money, we ruminate and get stuck there! Emotions generally only last about 20 seconds. Then your mind gives it an action or thought and your brain tries to interpret it.

We either feed or diffuse the emotion. We go into self-pity, self-loathing, we lose compassion and reasonability. We feel like a failure.

But what if failure is merely a learning experience anyway? Not a true reflection or indictment of your self-worth and abilities.

Self-compassion reframes the experience you are going through. Puts it in perspective. Makes you become your own friend again.

Breakthrough Coaching helps you to remember who you are. How far you’ve come. What your next move is. Ready to explore the possibilities?

Reach out to me and see how Breakthrough Coaching can help you.

Contact me for a free, 15-20 minute discovery call or Zoom. 027 668 0067. No hard sell. No obligation. The fee won’t break the bank, and payment plans are available

I’m Stephanie Holloway – the only ANZCAL accredited Master Breakthrough Coach in the whole of South Island, and one of only four in the country.