Meditation practice can change your life. I talk about it ad nauseam: how it will lower your anxiety and enrich your relationships, help you with anger management, and healthy eating.
But can it help you in the money department?
So, if you need some more reasons to start meditating, here they are. Maybe these could be the reasons that finally convince your ego to start a consistent meditation practice.
Your Ability to Resist the Urge to Spend Money Will Go WAY UP
I like to think of a meditation practice as making our minds smooth. Instead of getting caught in a thicket of thoughts, the trained mind is able to slide on by without getting trapped. A thought might grab on for a moment, but we can move on more easily if we’re practiced in meditation.
An example: Someone shoves you on the train. You suddenly feel anger and all the negative thoughts that get attached to it. But if you’re practiced in mindfulness, you can slide past these thoughts quickly. If you’re a seasoned meditator, chances are you won’t even be thinking about the injustice 10 seconds later.
So how does this manifest in a way that is positive for your wallet?
Well, suppose that fashion blogger you follow on Instagram posts a photo of the most lovely floral maxi skirt you’ve ever seen. It’s beautiful. But you’ve been spending a lot of money on outfits for Burning Man lately, so it’s not going to happen. If you’re skilled in mindfulness, that’s the end of it. You move on. You go back to your coffee.
Since I’ve started meditating, it’s a lot easier for me to resist the temptation to spend money. Simply because I get past the thought that yells: ” You NEED this THING,” very quickly.
In the past I would have obsessed over that skirt. I would imagine where I would wear it, the compliments I might get. I’d add it to my cart online. Sure, I would have agonized for a while. But then I would have bought it.
Today I’m $165 richer.
(On a related note, becoming skilled in meditation will lead you to internalize this truth: you don’t need that much stuff. A practiced meditator is almost inevitably a minimalist. A practiced meditator is likely to have simple, high quality items in his or her home.)
You’ll Save Money When You Stop Caring About What Other People Think
Or: Meditation Practice Reveals to Us the Futility of our Image Obsession.
So much of our unnecessary spending results from our attempts to keep up with the Joneses. We want people to think we’re doing well and many of us are obsessed with looking wealthy, happy, intelligent, well-traveled, and well-dressed.
We want to have shiny things and we want others to see us with shiny things. Realizing that this is true is step one. Realizing that this is not getting you anywhere is step two.
When you have a consistent meditation practice, these understanding stay near the forefront of your mind, and you can catch and release the stories the ego comes up with.
Like “If I could only redo my kitchen, then I’d finally be content to stay in this apartment for a while.”
The ego is constantly trying to do something and get somewhere. It’s convinced that if we can just change something – our hair, our home, our job, the amount of weight we can bench press, etc. – then we will be content.
But no amount of collecting and acquiring leads to contentment. And if we’re not constantly vigilant and mindful, we have a tendency to forget that this is true. Forget this truth, and you’re a lot more likely to spend money impulsively or in ways that make you unhappy.
Living in New York City, I used to get my nails done all the time. If I didn’t have my nails done I felt like I wasn’t put together and my friends wouldn’t think I was doing very well. This may sound absurd. Or maybe it doesn’t — if you’ve been a 20-something woman working in Manhattan, maybe it doesn’t. Point is if I had really inquired into the reason that I was getting my nails done every week, and paid attention to how getting my nails done made me feel (more anxious than happy because it just meant I had to get them done again a week later), I might have stopped sooner.
I rarely get my nails done now. I probably save $50 a month not getting my nails done. $50 more to spend on things that ACTUALLY make me feel good and happy.
Even more importantly, being able to keep my ego in check has actually made me more confident. After a year of meditation, I feel more comfortable just being a person. I feel more competent, more self-reliant, and less concerned about how other people view me.
Meditation Will Make You Better at your Job
There are a lot of start-ups and tech companies trying to get their employees to meditate for this reason: Meditation makes you better at your work.
They’re correct. And while I don’t think being better at your job is the most important benefit of meditation, in my experience, it does help. Being skilled in mindfulness helps us to shift from work to rest more seamlessly. A mindful person is more likely to be able to avoid burnout, properly prioritize tasks, and demand certain work-life balances for themselves.
And of course, meditation improves concentration.
“Concentration power is at the base of the pyramid of all human endeavors.” -Shinzen Young
For me, meditation has made me better at work. I now accept I’m at work when I’m at work. I think about work less when I’m at home. I’m more focused, and more likely to cross things off my to-do list proactively.
Meditation and mindfulness will inevitably make you better at your job. And if you’re good at your job, you’re well on your way to making good money.