Hitting financial rock bottom can manifest differently for different people. Maybe your mortgage has become too much to keep up with. Maybe an unexpected incident has caused you to deplete your savings. Or, maybe you find yourself suddenly unemployed, and completely at a loss of how to proceed.
According to Mic, 4 out of 5 Americans will face financial problems throughout their lifetime. While it may seem like it’s the end of the world as you know it, it’s important to remember that life goes on, and every slump along the way can and will be surpassed.
Although it may seem daunting, "rock bottom" can be overcome with just a few pointers, a strong hold on hope, and open, self-assessment that you should carry with you as a lesson throughout the rest of your life.
So, you've found yourself in a financial crisis and are desperately reading through Google searches on how to start over. Luckily, with the internet sources available today, you can quickly find help to opt out of any trouble you're in.
To take back control of your money, the first step is to breathe. Yes, really. It's important to make note of what heavy stress can do to your body, or how it can affect your next move. The Fast Company cites stress as the main source of unhappiness amongst employees at work. The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure directly impacts your productivity and creativity. The emotional intelligence service TalentSmart conducted research with over a million people and found that 90% of top performers are skilled in remaining calm under stress. If you're in deep thought over your stresses, this will cause you to stress even harder, entering into a vortex of even more stress. Think of stress as comparable to quick sand- if you're fighting it by constantly worrying, you're just going to sink faster.
Breathing exercises are important for your overall health, as well as managing stress in the moment. Incorporating a breathing ritual in your everyday life should be treated as physical exercises. The 4-7-8 method of breathing was invented by Dr. Weil, holistic revolutionary. The method is simple and straightforward: 4-7-8 refer to the counts when breathing in, holding your breath and exhaling. Start by sitting up straight in a comfortable position. Next, place the tip of your tongue on the ridge of your gums, just behind your upper front teeth. Expand your diaphragm and slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for another count of 7. Open your mouth slightly, keeping your tongue in place, and exhale for 8 counts. Repeat this cycle 4 times.
Take time to reflect on everything
While breathing exercises are a release of stress, your physical body undergoes healthy changes with it. Your muscles relax, your blood pressure is lowered, and you're able to think more clearly, giving you room to fully analyze your situation. Sometimes, things may seem darker than they really are. Taking some time to step away from your problems and view them in a different light than your own may bring about realizations you might have not had before. Analyzing your situation from every angle will not only help you escape your rut, but bring upon awareness of even deeper issues.
In this period of time, you can take advantage of shaping the world around you. Your external and internal world are two different entities. Reflecting on both of your worlds and the forces that brought you to where you are today will help you decide what factors need to be tweaked, or even eliminated completely.
Negativities can stem from anything and everything; the people surrounding you, the atmosphere you've set yourself in, or even your mindset. Although, it doesn't all have to be negative; reflecting also brings about plenty of positive facets that you might not have realized the potential of previously. Reminding yourself what did work for you will strengthen those attributes of yours that will surely benefit you in the long run.
Organize your finances
Now that you've taken the time to envision your options and choices with a clear mind, take a look at the damage done and asses your financial damages. Apps like Mint exist for this very reason- and the best part is it's completely free. If you wanted to go a more old fashioned route, laying your financials out on a spreadsheet would be just as effective. Getting your finances in order on paper is the first step to taking control of them all together. More importantly, don't be afraid of the numbers. Keep in mind they are just numbers. Numbers are prone to change. Money is a tangible asset, and one that can be tweaked. Sometimes numbers fluctuate, sometimes they pivot; it's normal.
Eliminate anything that isn't necessary
When you've developed a clear understanding of where you lie in the pool of your finances, you can then begin with the most obvious step forward: Eliminate anything you do not need. Living in a world that charges for an upgraded app can make this very difficult to do. Minimizing your lifestyle and finances is crucial during delicate times. If this seems like a step back, it's helpful to remember what piece of advice Jeff Goins, author and self-made millionaire offers those who are learning to handle their finances:
Money can’t fulfill us. Be your own teacher and learn to live amongst your means, not against them.
Reach out to your resources
No matter where you are in life, I'm willing to bet you have at least one stable resource you can lean on when times get rough. Friends, family, neighbors, even pets become helpful during financial crises. Regardless of whether or not you have physical support, spiritual, mental and emotional support from those around you will lighten up the darkest of times. This also sheds light on who's really there for you when you need it most. Incidentally, this is also a time to cut off excess weight. Just as you rid yourself of anything inessential as you budget your life, this is the best time to do so for drawbacks. Drawbacks can include people, places, projects, or pretty much anything that you feel is obstructing your journey.
Financial problems will always be there. Sometimes, they're small. Other times, they're big. At the end of the day, climbing out of the pit you find yourself in entirely depends on you and your mindset.
Once you learn to take control of your money options and stabilize your financial attitude, climbing out of the pit becomes a whole lot easier.