Don’t let symptoms of stress and anxiety stop you from making money

Business coaches are sure that endurance, as well as stress and anxiety tolerance are the most important qualities for earning and increasing money. In the context of the global crisis, this is relevant not only for entrepreneurs, but for all adults as well.

A study from the University of California, Irvine, published in the Science Advances magazine, reconfirmed that 2020 is a pandemic not only of coronavirus, but also of mental disorders, depression, economic instability, reduced quality of life and health-related fears. Our money thinking coach tells how to keep the presence of mind and the ability to earn money even when going through tough times.

Any new situation or circumstance with increased uncertainty causes stress, because the brain tries to predict the future and choose a reaction by comparing what is happening with the most similar experience in the past. The fear of losing a job, business, or money sooner or later affects everyone, especially in times of economic crises, not to mention pandemics. It inevitably causes strong emotions, because the prospect of losing a source of money is subconsciously associated with the fear of death—the most powerful basic fear.

Sometimes, the fear is justified and the situation requires immediate action, but much more often the fear is exaggerated: all that threatens most of us is a temporary loss of comfort, but the ancient parts of our brain perceive it as a threat to life, our consciousness switches to survival mode, choosing from three options: aggression, avoidance or stupor.

At the same time, the states that help us create financial stability and prosperity are activated by a young part of the brain—the new cortex, its analytical part, and while the alarm signal is on, the analytical part is somewhat suppressed.

What triggers the alarm button?

Evolutionarily, the brain is designed to assume the worst, to protect us from danger, obvious or imaginary. Meanwhile, the brain remembers negative events better, because this information is a priority for it—it helps to mitigate risks to life. They interpret positive events as neutral, so we often see the situation in dark colors.

The brain also assesses the possibility of loss of wealth as a direct threat to a vital resource, so the risk of losing money is particularly acute for us. Our brain quickly and vividly paints us pictures of poverty, starvation and even death.

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Many people live their entire lives with the alarm button pressed, constantly experiencing anxiety, chasing mentally their past experiences, worrying about the future and not noticing what is happening in the present. If the body remains in this mode for a long time, all systems experience overstrain, which results in moral and physical exhaustion and unfocused attention.

People in this state are often distracted, lost, it is difficult for them to plan the future, to believe in their own strength, there are issues with trust in other people and the world as a whole. As a result, we tend to make bad decisions, frustrate about it, blame ourselves, and take futile attempts to fix everything—an endless series of recurrences.

Crisis: what to say to yourself?

We tend to perceive uncertainty as a dangerous unknown. But outside of a crisis, we live in the same uncertainty, albeit with a little more predictability. Almost everything new is well-forgotten old. We have experienced many crises in our lives, and these crises in most cases were the triggers initiating the processes of our development. We can come out of crises with new skills and qualities. Therefore, by analyzing the facts, we can give our consciousness an alternative positive version of the future.

Crises are as inevitable as tides. Although growth and change inevitably bring discomfort and the need to adapt to them, they also help us discover extraordinary qualities in ourselves.

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Who chooses what to think?

Stress and survival mode prevent us from fact-based thinking, because due to stress, we form “tunnel vision” and focus on one event or situation, lose the ability to look around, see the perspective. Therefore, adaptability is a very important quality for strengthening awareness, and the good news is that it is inherent in us genetically—we have survived thanks to the ability to adapt.

It only seems to us that we think our thoughts, but in fact it is the thoughts that think us. Robert Sapolsky, Professor at Stanford University, writes that humans think that they make decisions themselves, while their decisions are driven by their biology.

In other words, all sorts of thoughts come into our heads. Then, we give them meanings, and the meanings determine our future actions. If we let this process follow its course, we lose the ability to understand or choose what we think. That’s why it is very useful to keep gratitude diaries or record the day’s victories: in this way, we train our brain to produce pleasure hormones, noticing the many good things that are happening in our lives and not allowing ourselves to devalue our own achievements.

One of the main exercises to strengthen mental health can be a conscious reduction of anxiety through understanding what is happening to us here and now: what we think, feel and what actions these thoughts and feelings lead us to. It is necessary to learn how to translate biological impulses from the ancient parts of the brain into the new cortex, more advanced structures capable of analysis and reflection, which make us not only higher primates, but also spiritual beings.

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How to reduce the level of anxiety?

We often underestimate the power of simple things, but they have the greatest effect on our condition and this is, first of all, sleep, nutrition and exercise. Sleep is probably the main component of this formula: going to bed before 11 pm and sleeping at least 7-8 hours let our body reboot and recover so that our brain can work effectively. This is confirmed not only by numerous studies, but also by the success stories of businessmen, entrepreneurs, coaches, and other famous people.

For a long time, it was believed that sweets help the brain function, but now most scientists are inclined to the idea of complete rejection, because sugar “drives our hormonal system crazy”. And since it is found in bread, most processed foods (sausages, semi-finished products, confectionery), it may also be useful to exclude them from your diet.

Regular physical activity not only increases body tone (have you noticed how after a workout or a walk your mood improves and your head becomes clear?), but also helps us produce the necessary neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and endorphin. They are responsible for our motivation, for the “I can”, the ability to overcome obstacles, cope with difficulties, and look beyond the horizon of opportunities.

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How to get out of a stupor?

The technique that will help you get out of a mental stupor with thoughts like “I don’t know”, “I don’t understand”, “I can’t” is to ask the question: “Is it really so?” and check the facts. For example: I can’t make money. Or can I? If I’m reading this, it means I have a computer or a phone. But, maybe, now I think I could earn more. I really don’t know how I can earn more… Or I know, but I’m just scared of the ways, or I don’t believe I can do it… As we expand our values, we not only see more and more deeply, but also begin to question our limiting beliefs and gradually rewrite them.

How not to distort your own perception?

It is very important to learn how to conduct an internal dialogue and explain to yourself what is happening based on the facts. For example, instead of repeating to yourself that “I’m running out of money”, find confirmation that the money is still there, thereby shifting the focus. The first statement will start the chain: stress-stupor-deterioration of the situation. The second—will give you more peace of mind, strength to think about what you can do to improve the situation. Rational internal dialogues create new neural connections and trigger new behavioral strategies focused on the desired, consciously chosen result.

It is equally important to learn how to switch your attention, because we can’t see the forest for the trees very often. Too much focus on the problem makes it almost a dead end in our perception, and does not allow us to look at the situation more broadly and find other options. But it is only necessary to “zoom out” your attention, and the situation turns out to have many solutions: the dead end becomes a crossroads.

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It is known that energy is where our attention is, and if you want to earn serious money, your attention should be on money. Take a look at your calendar and check how many hours a week you spend on activities that directly help you make money. Can you tell from your calendar what you do and what your focus is?

The reason we do all the things in our lives is to make ourselves feel better, including with money or what it can buy. We strive for what we think will make us happier. And there is nothing wrong with wanting money, because it can be not a purpose in itself, but a means for getting what you want.

How to achieve what you want?

Tim Ferriss, an American entrepreneur, investor, and author of one of the world’s most popular podcasts, conducted interviews with more than two hundred prominent businessmen, athletes, and actors, and found that each of them has two distinct qualities—self-belief and willingness to take on risk.

Everyone experiences self-doubt from time to time: we doubt our own competence, compare ourselves with others, get carried away with perfectionism, overestimate expectations, and link self-assessment to results. Such distortions are the key obstacles to our well-being. The truth is that we all make mistakes and have every right to do so. We are all imperfect and this has nothing to do with our personal value. Even if you fail to achieve the expected result, you should not be tempted to label yourself a fool or a loser, because if you repeat this scenario often enough, it will trigger self-fulfilling predictions: failures will become more and more often, “confirming” that you are a loser, which will inevitably affect your self-esteem. The same will happen if we strongly depend on the opinions of others and give them the right to decide what we are worth and how good we are. The reason for the “wrong” result can be many different factors, and you should not look for the reason only within yourself. We should only compare ourselves with our yesterday’s self, and not with others who will always be better in some ways—this race cannot be won. It is much wiser to make a regular contribution to your inner strength.

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Is it worth dipping into the future?

We often try to predict the future, while ignoring the real task of understanding what it should look like and starting to build it. At the same time, we tend to underestimate the importance of small actions and overestimate the importance of large ones—another common cognitive distortion. By taking a small step towards the goal every day, such as putting a small amount aside every month, we will save much more than if we wait for a bonus. Daily mental therapy or meditation exercises during a year will lead to incredible and absolutely amazing results.

Only actions give clarity, and it is actions that reveal who we are. We can talk a lot about attitudes in money-based thinking or the limitations that the pandemic imposes on us, but only new decisive and consistent actions lead us to well-being.

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