Research is telling us that meditation can make us better friends, better parents, and better performers in the workplace. But did you know it can make us better spenders, too?
As we learned in our interview with Ariel Garten, meditation helps us to focus our attention in three ways:
- It gives us control over our amygdala (our “fight or flight” trigger).
- It gives us control of our emotions – namely, our negative ones.
- It gives us a greater understanding of our needs – emotional and physical.
Believe it or not, we need all of these skills when it comes to spending money. Because every time we open our wallet, we’re making a choice. These skills give us the power to choose wisely.
Combatting Compulsive Spending
Many of us reward good behavior – or make up for sadness – with impulsive, unnecessary purchases. We treat ourselves to a new pair of shoes or a night of strong drinks without considering the consequences…and then panic when we can’t pay off our credit card debt.
The more frequently we meditate, the better we become at redirecting our attention from the negative thoughts that drive us to make impulsive purchases. We lose the sense of entitlement we feel when receive our paycheck. We lose the sense of self-pity we feel when life doesn’t go our way. We lose the need to seek instant gratification – and the need to blow our hard-earned cash.
Instead, we learn to recognize abundance within ourselves and the world around us, that does not need to be supplemented with stuff.
Understanding What’s Meaningful
In our consumer-driven society, it’s easy to confuse living well for having lots of things. We are bombarded with advertisements that tell us our lives are improved with products. And with that, we are surrounded by friends, peers and relatives who burn their money left and right in order to maintain a sense of contentment.
Meditation teaches us to become conscious spenders. It teaches us introspection, which leads to self-awareness, and the ability understand what’s meaningful to us, and what isn’t. When we direct our attention only towards the things that are good for us, we stop paying attention to things that we don’t need. We stop paying for things that don’t produce a positive return on expense – financial, emotional or otherwise.
We open our wallets willingly for the things that truly serve us – like education and experiences – but otherwise keep them closed.
In all, meditation teaches us to be more thoughtful and more calculated in our decisions. When we are able to recognize goodness, and gravitate only towards meaning, then we lose the space for destructive habits, like compulsive and careless spending.