My favorite brain hack? Get out of your head and into your body!

written by Bari Tessler December 26, 2023

Dear Money Adventurer,

When I got a request from a reporter with the Wall Street Journal for “brain hacks” to help folks worry less about money and make better financial decisions in the new year, I knew I wanted to share my answer with you.

Because we could all use a little less worry in our heads and our hearts right now.

Money worries can be a reflection of old money stories you’ve inherited, money patterns that no longer serve you, or even an in-the-moment response to the ebbs and flows of life and money (Hello inflation, high interest rates, and other unexpected curveballs).

And that’s totally normal. You’re not alone.

I’m going to tell you the same thing I told that journalist:

85% of the money decisions we make are rooted in our emotions.

So, to “hack your brain” – and your relationship with money – you need to get out of your head and into your body.

Yep, that’s it: My favorite brain hack is to get out of your head and into your body!

I know that your body can be such a tender place to inhabit, so please know that I say this with so much love and deep compassion: Your body has so much wisdom to share with you.

Your body has been by your side every step of the way, in every moment, through every experience. It’s where you, your money emotions, stress, money worries, and all the sensations that come along with them live. Together.

This is why somatic tools are the ultimate brain-body-money hack. Because they teach you how to be present in the moment, and in your body, to self-regulate your nervous system, and befriend your money emotions.

That might seem like a lot, but this handy “hack” is actually a collection of small steps and simple, but powerful practices to help you find your footing when you’re feeling overwhelmed in your money journey.

Tuning in to your body and your money emotions is the essential first step.

Here are five more of my favorite personal practices to help you make any money decision:

  1. H.A.L.T.* Ask yourself: Am I hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? These questions build self-awareness and help shine a light on the intentions and motivations driving your money decisions before you make them. *HALT is a method created by David Streem, MD, a psychiatrist and addiction specialist. It’s frequently utilized in 12-step meetings.
  2. Take a time-out. Before I make a money decision, I give myself a 24 hour time-out. This doesn’t mean before buying day-to-day essentials like gas or groceries, but I do press “pause” on other money decisions, big and small alike.
  3. Know your numbers. Whether you use a bookkeeping system or a savvy spreadsheet, being aware of where your numbers are at is an essential part of making good money decisions. If this step feels scary or overwhelming for you, read this. If you want some expert advice about picking a bookkeeping system, this is for you.
  4. Make Money Dates a priority. Start by setting aside 15 minutes every few days to check in with your money and take one next step. Call a new bookkeeper or accountant. Fill out the tax forms. Learn a new tracking system. Review your credit card statements. Pay bills. These insider tips will help you set the mood for your own unique money dates.
  5. Bring your money to your body-based practice. Take your money emotions, desires, and questions with you on a hike through the woods, to the dance floor, the gym, your gentle movement or meditation practice. Incorporate activities that reduce your stress to help you move through challenging decisions and bring more of what you love to your relationship with money.

As my dear friend and Financial Coach colleague Mikelann Valterra says, “Control the parts of money you can and let go of the rest.”

If you let them, these somatic tools will help you navigate the ebbs and flows of life and money with more grace, compassion, and self-trust.

No matter what chapter of your money story this finds you in, I hope it lights your way to a more peaceful and empowering relationship with money in this season, and all the ones to come.

With my dearest wishes,

P.S. For all the therapists, coaches and financial professionals out there, I’m still offering an early-bird bonus for my Spring 2024 Mentor Program (for a few more days), which you can learn about here. And, if you need a lower-priced option, please check out my year-long Art of Money program, which includes great content and community support.

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