Secrets to Staying Positive and Grateful During Financial Difficulty

Secrets to Staying Positive and Grateful During Financial Difficulty


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Hold a quarter in front of your eye.

Give good ol’ George Washington the stare down.

(Bear with me, there is a lesson here.)

What do you see?

If you’re staring Washington right in the eye, you probably see mostly the quarter (duh, right?)

Now, keeping it right in front of your eye, try to see past it.

It’s very difficult to focus on anything else when something is so prominently taking up most of your focus. Even when you try to shift your focus to everything else, you still have that pesky quarter taking up a majority of your view.

Likewise, when we’re in the midst of financial struggles it’s hard to focus on anything else. It’s like that darned quarter stuck in front of our face.

Let’s think of some ways we can shift our focus despite money problems so that you can still feel gratitude and stay positive as you work on making things great again.


(Yes, it's this blurry when you hold it close to your eye.)

Take a Step Back

There’s so much more to the world than what’s immediately in front of you.

Expand your view so you can see more of what’s going on around you so that money problems don’t become all consuming.

Specifically, find things that you enjoy and love and put more emphasis on those things.

Should you spend more time with your family? (Link to article) Could you use a break to just go for a walk and enjoy nature and the beauty of the earth? Is there a book you could read that would help take your mind off things, or even better, inspire you to reach your goals?

Take a step back so you can see there's more to focus on than your immediate money problems.

Do a Head-to-Toe Evaluation

Start at your toes and work your way up through your physical being and think of all the wonderful and marvelous things your body can do for you.

You can think of physical things like your ability to go for a walk or pick up a child. Or you can even think of things that your body does that helps you feel good; like giving hugs, watching your favorite movie or laughing with friends.

I realize there can be health ailments, but we’re shifting our focus to find everything that is wonderful about you.

If your body isn’t as it once was, reminisce and be grateful for all the adventures it has given you.

I was amazed by the spirit of a young girl who can stay so positive even after she lost everything in California wildfires including her prosthetic legs and wheelchair.

Certainly we can all find something to make us pleased with ourselves and the miracle that our life is.

Every life has value and is a gift.

Ditch the Negative Self-Talk

It’s easy to get into a bad habit of negative self-talk.

Negative self-talk is saying things like:

  • It’s no use, why even try?
  • It’ll never get any better.
  • This is just the way it is.
  • I’m not lucky like so-and-so.
  • I’ll never be able to afford that.

If you talk to yourself like this ... stop it! Right now!

Phrases like this can harm your situation and make things worse.

Here’s the thing about the way your brain works … if you tell yourself something, and you say it enough, your brain will believe you. Once you believe something, you’ll act as if it’s true and fulfill your negative prophesy and prove yourself right.

The good news is, positive reinforcement works the same way. Tell yourself positive things enough that your brain will believe you and push your actions in a positive direction.

To break the cycle of negative self-talk, you need to catch yourself in the act and then rephrase what you were about to say.

You can try saying something like this, “I used to think it was no use, so why try. Now I know I can work through this difficult time and make it through on top.”

Also, rather than saying “I can’t,” say “How can I …?”

Recommended Reading

The way you think about money directly affects how and if money comes into your life.

This is a really great book to help reprogram your brain from limiting beliefs and myths that ruin our finances. It provides actionable steps for you to live your life more abundantly.

Start a Gratitude Diary

Take note each day of something you are grateful for.

Document something that happened that day that made you happy or made you smile. Even if it’s a very small thing. Even if you only write a sentence or two.

You may have witnessed a beautiful sunrise. Maybe you made some homemade bread (or even bacon) and your house smelled amazing. Maybe you held the door for a stranger, so you felt good for being helpful.

You can always find something wonderful in every single day. If you start documenting things your grateful for, you’ll learn to recognize them more easily and you’ll see more and more wonderful things in your life. It’s an upward cycle!

If you'd like to have a nice journal to write in, you can try this one. It has five lines for you to write 5 things you're grateful for everyday.

Have Faith and Use Your Faith

Faith is a funny thing. You can’t just have faith, you must use faith.

Faith is trusting something will happen before you have any evidence that it’s true.

Faith isn’t just being patient and waiting for the abundance of life to fall in your lap. Faith needs action.

It’s like the old phrase, “take a leap of faith”. You can’t just stand on a ledge waiting to get to the other side. You need to move forward believing things will work out if you’re on a good path.

Indiana Jones' leap of faith

Start moving in a positive and forward direction by using faith.

Set Goals and Create a Plan of Action

I find I’m always much happier and positive if I’m progressing toward something. I love setting goals and working toward them.

If finances have you stressed out, start working on your financial goals to better your situation.

What pressing issues do you need to deal with?

Finding new work? Paying off debt? Saving up money to pay for an upcoming expense?

Here are the steps to setting goals that you can achieve (also known as SMART goals.)

  • Specific – Make a goal that is very specific.
  • Measurable – Divide your goal into smaller tasks and measure milestones.
  • Actionable – Create action steps for each milestone to occur.
  • Realistic – Saying something like “I want a million dollars” isn’t going to get you very far. Getting a million dollars can be realistic, but start smaller and work toward the smaller goal first. If you aren’t realistic on what you can achieve, you’ll probably quit.
  • Timely – Give yourself time to achieve your goal, but also give yourself a deadline. I prefer to break the deadline down into more frequent deadlines for smaller milestones so that I’m continually moving forward.

This Too Shall Pass

They say time heals all things. Know that time will continue on and you’ll eventually be out of your situation.

If you’re following the other advice given above, you’ll find you can work your way out sooner, or the burden will be lighter.

Soon enough, you won't have anything to focus on but the beauty of life.

I’m Grateful I was Raised Poor

Like many people, I was dirt poor growing up, and I’m grateful for the experiences it’s given me.

It’s given me a perspective on life that I wouldn’t otherwise have and taught me to value all of the things I do have. Many times I had to go without, but I don’t feel deprived from it.

I respect others for all the diverse lives they’ve lived and acknowledge that everyone goes through difficult times and trials. I believe what sets you apart from others is how you deal with your setbacks and your ability to remain positive and work your way into a better situation.

Take out your gratitude journal and write your own reasons for being grateful for the lessons you’ve learned in your own life.

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It's hard to stay positive when your finances suck. It's even harder to feel grateful for what you have. Check out these tips to keep positive when times are tough.

Cameron is a Financial Coach who works with couples and individuals to achieve financial freedom and peace of mind. She believes being in control of money = less stress + more fun! Join her on the journey to think about money less and enjoy life more.