More and more people I am seeing in therapy are having financial worries. I would like to share with you some of the techniques I am using to help relieve some of the anxiety that people have about losing their money. Cognitive behavior therapy tries to get people to focus on the present. No matter how much your stock portfolio has declined in the last year, there is likely to be a certain amount of money you have right now. What do you want to do with your money now? How do you want to move forward from here? It is also important to keep in mind that for most people they are still ahead of what they started with. This situation reminds me a little of being in Las Vegas. I start with $100 to gamble. I am doing great and now have about $500. I then lose half of that money and now have $250. I still have $150 more than I started with.
I also think it is important to consider the value of money in your life. Research shows that money does not bring happiness. Well, what does bring happiness? For many people it is their social relationships. Those relationships are still there even if the value of your stock portfolio is cut in half. I recently heard about this interesting exercise you can try. If everything was taken away from you; your money, your health, your children, your eyesight, your hearing - I mean everything, what would be the first thing you want back? I doubt many of you said: "My money."
If you lie at wake at night worrying about your money and this issue seems to interfere with your functioning during the day, you may want to get some professional help. To find a therapist who uses cognitive behavioral therapy you can look at the referral lists on www.abct.org and www.adaa.org.