I was at a train station yesterday and overheard a teenager being ribbed by his mates about why he wasn’t going out with the girl he fancied. ‘She’ll come running - once I’ve won the lottery …’ he replied.
How often do you catch yourself thinking ‘if only I had more money, I’d be happy…’ or ‘Once I’ve won the lottery, then I’ll be able to…’? How often do we believe that having ‘more’ or better ‘things’ will mean more happiness?
I’m horrified, at the run up to Christmas, over how many TV adverts extol over-abundance, verging on gluttony during the festive season. Scenes show the Christmas dining table piled high with sumptuous foods, there are stacks of presents under the tree and bottles of all manner of alcohol are lined up. In fact, most of the advertisers are obsessed with excess – coercing people to go completely over the top at this time of year – and of course, spend loads of money in their store.
The Great Expectation at this time of year, more than any other, is to do everything ‘big’ - be generous, celebrate and splash out, but what about families who can’t afford it? It puts huge pressure on people who don’t have any extra resources to be indulgent. They are too busy keeping warm and feeding their children the basics.
In a recent survey, the top three responses to ‘what does money mean to you?’ were - freedom, security and fun. Yet, we can gain these qualities without having any more money to hand. Instead, we need to be creative and think about how we can achieve these qualities in other ways. Here are a few ideas of how we can find abundance this festive season without it costing the earth:
8 Ways to Find Abundance
2. Look for the simple things. Find joy in what is already freely available around you. Walking. Nature. Fresh air. Be creative and try ‘home-made’ instead of shop-bought. I always make a wreath each year made from tinsel and holly from the garden. Yes – and a metal coat-hanger a la Blue Peter!
|My wreath, refreshed every year from the garden|
|Image: Victoria Beckham - her unwanted shoes...|
4. Remember that a craving for ‘new’ often means ‘different’. Try Swap-parties: get friends together and bring clothes or accessories that you can exchange for ‘new’ items in your wardrobe.
5. Consider downshifting or downsizing. If you had a smaller car, perhaps you could have that holiday you’ve always hoped for. Instead of spending £3 a day on take-away lunches, make your own and you’ll save £60 a month to spend on something else (that’s £720 a year).
6. Many of us are experiencing a spiritual vacuum in our lives and are searching for meaningful ways to find a sense of certainty and security. Instead of searching outside yourself for gratification, consider looking inwards to find peace of mind using meditation, reflection while walking or yoga.
7. Work out what you need to do to kick-start your dreams for real. Do you want a romantic relationship? To change jobs? To write a novel? Is it really money that is holding you back from reaching for your goals or is it something else? For example, it could be fear of failure, too much responsibility, going against the wishes of someone else, feeling your plan is too selfish… Talk to someone you trust about your true reasons for stalling and how to might move forward.
8. True happiness often comes when we are contributing to something involving others, rather than merely focusing on our own selfish gain. Consider how you might brighten someone else’s day, with a simple gesture that shows you care. It will give you a warm glow inside that money can’t buy!
Ok - I'll get off my soap-box now!
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