We are living in challenging times. For many, current events have pushed us to the brink of sadness, frustration, resentment and more. We often talk about being grateful and how to live a better life. But sometimes it’s important to acknowledge and explore the emotions you are feeling instead of attempting to change them with thoughts of gratitude or love.

Don’t misunderstand me—gratitude and love can be powerful and healing emotions, but if you’re like the countless others struggling to articulate how you’re feeling, now might be the time to try something different. Don’t try to change your emotions. Instead, recognize them and give them space.

Why Should We Even Care About Emotions?

It seems counterintuitive to identify our emotions because we are fearful that it will be painful and cause us to struggle more. Put another way, identifying and naming your emotions makes them feel more real. However, studies have shown that if you can label your emotions, it actually helps you move forward and take action because it helps us connect the emotional part of the brain to the rational part of the brain. With the power of the emotional and rational parts of the brain working together, we can make smarter, more confident decisions in all situations, including financial ones.

We also need to acknowledge our feelings so they don’t consume us later. If avoided or denied, they can put stress on our minds and bodies. Emotional stress, like that from blocked emotions, has not only been linked to mental illness, but also to physical problems like heart disease, intestinal issues, headaches, insomnia and autoimmune disorders.

Additionally, our decision-making processes are directly tied to our state of mind and whether or not we have a handle on our emotions. If we’re in a place where our “fear response” has been triggered, it is hard to consider our options. Our desire to do something (fight or flight) can often lead us to take action we later regret.

Time to Pause

As we consider how we feel about what has happened over the past three months, and even more so over the past few weeks, we need to pause. In our action-oriented culture (“do something now”), pausing is often challenging. But pausing doesn’t mean you need to stop everything you’re doing. It means you need to set aside some time, even if it’s only a few minutes each day, to take a break, take a breath and let yourself just be.

It’s a pause to reflect on how you’re feeling. These feelings can be overwhelming. That’s okay. You can process them one small step at a time. Time can be your most powerful ally. If you need time to just take in what is happening, that’s okay. If you need time to simply feel your sadness, anger or something else, that’s more than okay. It’s healthy and helpful.

Here are some things to consider when processing your emotions:

  • Use Your Network. Relationships are powerful. Who can you share your emotions with as you struggle? Sharing your emotions is not complaining. When you share your vulnerability with someone, it can enhance your current relationships and help you build new ones. Using your network gives you strength by knowing you’re not alone.
  • Reflect on Past Experiences. Most likely, this is not the first time you have felt overwhelmed with multiple emotions. What has helped you in the past? Who has helped you in the past? How were you able to move forward? Everyone has their own way of experiencing and managing emotions. What do you know about yourself that can help you during this time? If you aren’t sure, reflect on past experiences to engage your inner wisdom.
  • Tap into Your Financial Resources. The most powerful and least powerful resource is money. It won’t make your feelings go away, nor will it eliminate the reality of what has happened. However, money can help in other ways. You can hire a therapist. You can take a few days off and give yourself time to decompress or reflect. You can give financial support to a cause or causes you believe in. You can’t buy peace of mind, but your financial resources can help in other ways.

What Is Behavioral Wealth Management?

Behavioral Wealth Management is all about harnessing the power of your emotions with your rational thinking to make better decisions. Your emotions are a source of incredible wisdom. Don’t ignore or bury them. Pause, explore and recognize the insights they have to offer. Understanding the connections between our emotions and our decision-making processes can help us make better choices.

We are not here to tell you what to do or even how to do deal with your emotions. We simply want to encourage you to think about how all your elements of wealth, including money, can help you during this difficult time. And, if we can help you think through this, we are here for you.

Heidi Geller

Heidi Geller

Behavioral Wealth Specialist