Remaining positive in the face of a crisis – and during a protracted pandemic – is easier said than done. While not everyone is an eternal optimist, research has shown that a positive outlook is not just good for your mental, emotional and physical health, but for your financial health too.

A recent online survey by Sanlam into the challenge’s women have faced during lockdown, revealed that six in 10 women were able to find a silver lining despite worrying about health, a reduced income and making ends meet. For some, the lockdown was a lesson in slowing down and appreciating the smaller things in life, while for three in 10, the main upside of the experience was that they got to spend more time together as a family. 

Kenosi Magosha, Head: Client Solutions Savings, notes that a positive outlook not only makes you feel good, but it also helps people bounce back from setbacks. It can help kick-start the process of working towards financial goals, starting businesses, or taking action to pivot their current businesses in a new direction. “This sets people on a growth path that can lead to the employment and economic growth our country so desperately needs,” she says.

But a positive outlook alone will not result in financial well-being. “While optimism helps to reframe our mind-set to believe there is a future worth planning but it is even as important to ensure that practical steps are taken to enable the future. Essentially, closing the gap between intentions and actions,” says Magosha.

To create a positive outlook on your finances and enable financial well-being, Magosha suggests you ask yourself the following, write down the answers and don’t just make mental notes:

  1. What future goals do I have for myself and my family? 
  2. If my circumstances have changed, do I need to re-evaluate my goals?
  3. When would I like to achieve these goals?
  4. When and how often in the year will I monitor the progress on my goals – diarise this?

With this focus, it would also the perfect time to enlist the help of a professional financial adviser who can help kick-start your financial goals and close the gap between your intentions and actions. This is an important consideration as according to Sanlam’s survey, eight in 10 women are currently tackling their finances without the help of a financial expert.

The outlook you have in your life also needs to be positive to help you benefit on the financial side – it’s all about the habits we focus on daily. Clinical psychologist Nozibusiso Nyawose recommends the following for you to embrace the power of positivity, and maintain a healthy mind required to make good decisions:

1.       Surround yourself with positive people to establish a safe and supportive environment.

2.       Re-evaluate and reflect on the challenges you face to understand what is affecting your ability to be positive. If your pessimism is driven by your behaviour, you need to re-evaluate the situation to gain insight and make informed decisions about your next steps. This insight will help you identify and take responsibility for any unhealthy habits or behaviour and take progressive steps to change them.  

3.       Exercise regularly. This plays a crucial role in improving your mood, mental stability and contributes to positive thinking and your overall well-being. 

4.       Practice positive self-talk. Be gentle on yourself, reaffirming your positive actions rather than letting your inner dialogue become negative, belittling or degrading.

International speaker, author, parenting coach and founder of Munchkins, Andalene Salvesen agrees. She suggests starting a family tradition of acknowledging the things you are grateful for. This will help you and your family remain optimistic, find those silver lining moments and is the most effective way to maintain joy and emotional stability.

“To embrace the power of positivity and its potential to impact our financial well-being, prospects for our nation, we need to shift our mind-set to be more positive by visualizing the future we would like and then take active steps to close the gap between our intentions and actions. The result should enable the start of the journey through a clear roadmap with dates to reach your financial goals and focused effort to engage often with your financial goals,” concludes Magosha.

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