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Inflation Nation Series: Letting Go

Let's face it. Our society is obsessed with making money and worrying about saving. For some, this is about survival. For others, you just need to calm down. If you're in a pinch and struggling with money, take advantage of your community's resources to help you get through these hard times. Otherwise, if you're getting a brain cramp trying to find ways to save and make money but recognize that you're actually doing just fine, then you need to let go of the rat race. Take some of these thoughts into consideration:

Your brain is wired for survival. Even when there's no need to worry as much about money, even if you had a million dollars, your brain would still find things to worry about and for most will often seek more. It's important to recognize that the impulse to make more, save more, have more is simply that: an impulse and requires self-reflection to understand the underlying issues. Look at your budget and your bank account. Be real with yourself. If you're really doing everything it takes to cut costs, not be wasteful, and using responsible financial skills, and you're still not making enough to cover the cost of living, you're definitely going to need some help. If the aforementioned is not true in that you haven't given your spending habits and budget a thorough review and incorporated different behaviors to make a difference, then you need to be honest on if you're just worrying or actually solving your problems. If you recognize you're doing what you need to and you end up with a little bit of wiggle room that's just uncomfortable, but not a threat to your living situation, then recognize your impulse to make/save/worry is more about your brain's habits and less about reality.

Inflation lasts quite a while but isn't forever. If you're a millennial, you have now survived more than one inflation hike. While this one is pretty bad, it's important to remember that you have survived past inflation hikes AND many have survived all the inflation hikes before. A time will come where income and cost will begin to feel comfortable for you again. Know who, what, and where your resources are with family and in your community to help you financially and emotionally during this time and just keep breathing. Take it one day at a time. Want to keep track of predictions? Check out this inflation calculator to prepare for the future, or visit Fannie Mae, the Economist, CNBC, or your trusted news outlet to keep track of what's going on or get insights.

Increase gratitude, not income. Not only do some people need to just chill out about their money after taking a thorough assessment of how they're using it, but buffer that calmer outlook with some gratitude. Being thankful for what you have and how far you've come is an important part of positive mental health, or positive psychology. Gratitude is the antidote to negative, pessimistic attitudes and self-talk. It's not enough to just remember the things you have and be happy about it. It's also about having the heart of gratitude that comes from valuing your life and others' lives. If you spend some time focusing on gratitude instead of making money, you might actually become a better, healthier person, and that's never bad.

Remember what you're able to control and let go of what you can't. Let go of the fact that you can't control the economy, you can't control interest rates, you can't always control how much money you make at any given time (you can't wake up making millions of dollars, but you can take steps toward making more in smaller increments), there's a lot out of your control. Remember that the following is in your control: Making responsible financial decisions; making decisions about employment that could improve your circumstances; being in charge of expenses on pointless things; being in charge of how much money you spend; steps you take toward getting support you might need during hard times; managing wastefulness; being thankful. And probably more.

So take a seat, take a breath, thank yourself for the work you put into making your life great, thank those around you for contributing to how great your life is, and hug your dog.

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