No one enjoys being afraid. But I bet you have never considered that you can capitalize on this uncomfortable feeling.
Some emotions can be disquieting, jarring us from an absent minded focus on our lives – anger, fear and grief are such emotions – but none of these feelings are a waste of time. Not if you know how to utilize them to your benefit.
Fear wakes us up and tells us to reorder our priorities. Without fear, perhaps we would remain snug in a situation, not paying attention to an area of our lives that is getting away from us.
The common reactions to fear are fight, flight or freeze. You can get angry that your portfolio has diminished in these turbulent markets and blame the government, your broker, or your spouse. Maybe you pretend that your expenses are not out of control, nothing uncomfortable is happening and everything will work out for the best one way or another. Or you might want to avoid looking at your 401k statements and your credit cards when they come in, because you feel immobilized and you don’t know what to do.
But there is another choice. You could pay attention to what is going on in your life, the choices you have made financially and personally, and make a change.
The gifts of fear
Fear is here to help you take notice that something isn’t working.
It is a lifesaving gift.
If you have found yourself afraid of your financial future, try a couple of these suggestions to get yourself moving.
Look at your expenses
Where could you cut down or trade off in your financial outlay? Could you bicycle to the store on occasion instead of driving your car? Could you pack a lunch a few days a week instead of going out each day? Pare down on your cable channels? Stop a subscription? Spend less for a gift? Buy a gourmet coffee treat once or twice less a month?
Take a look at where your money goes and see where you can save. Add up the savings amounts then go back and look through your list again.
What can you rearrange?
Do you have an extra room in your home?
Could you consider a student or a roommate as a source of extra income and to share expenses? If your home is located near Mayo Clinic or a famous hospital, it could be a godsend to someone whose loved one is hospitalized or receiving weeks of care. Does your home town have tourist attractions nearby? Tourists often want to be close to natural features or cultural events at a better cost than vacation lodging and this could be a rewarding way to meet new people.
With a little thought and preparation, your spare room could offer you more than a storage location.
What you pay for your vehicle maintenance, repair and fuel is in the top 4 categories of any household expense.
Perhaps you could carpool a few days a week, share car expenses with a neighbor or friend or join a carshare group in your town. This idea has been catching on for years now and offers you ways to save considerably in this area of your financial outlay.
Take a moment
Before chucking any of these ideas out of hand, consider your possibilities. Feeling stuck is a side effect of fear and you don’t have to give in to it.
Fear is asking you to reorder your priorities and if you want to move forward with your life, even a tiny step is better than none at all.