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The Psychology of Over Spending – Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo

lombardo-combo-picHave you ever wondered why you continue to spend more than you should? Have you secretly wished they’d start a local Spenders Anonymous group in your area? Or have you ever wished there were a pill you could pop to help you recover from a financial hangover, that sick feeling you get when your credit card bill comes and you yet again, spent more than you knew you had?

The good news is you don’t need a pill, and there’s nothing wrong with you. The process you are following is a normal mechanism in response to two factors – stress and conditional self worth.

All you need is an understanding of why you do it and what to do instead that helps you feel better without the negative consequences.

Recently, I spoke with psychologist and author of “Better Than Perfect,” Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo on Happy Hour, a radio show I co-host alongside attorney and Fox News legal analyst Jonna Spilbor on this very topic.

Dr. Lombardo had some pretty helpful insight. “We don’t necessarily need to be more financially literate. What we need is to realize over-spending is a method of soothing ourselves when we are stressed. We’re trying to reduce stress by shopping. It feels good in the short term, but then we feel guilty and more stress after the fact, so we’re actually compounding the problem.”

Research shows that on a stress scale of 0 – 10, when we are at a 7 or higher, our brain does not make rational decisions. “If you’re at a 7 or higher, do NOT click “purchase,” and do not let anything go in or come out of your mouth.” suggests Dr. Lombardo, in her always direct, simple and even comical approach.

Also playing a part here is this notion of conditional self worth. “I’ll feel better about myself if . . . (fill in the blank.)”

“It comes down to how we feel about ourselves, and social media is making it worse.” says Dr. Lombardo. “We compare ourselves to others, believing we’ll feel better about ourselves if we look like someone else, dress like someone else, drive the car they do and on and on. Research shows the more time we spend on Facebook, the more likely we are to be depressed.”

Here are some suggestions Dr. Lombardo has to make better spending decisions and ground your self worth in something real and stable.

1 – Forgive yourself. It’s normal to soothe ourselves when we are stressed, so stop beating yourself up.

2 – Look for healthy and helpful ways to relieve stress. Exercise or even simply go for a walk. Watch funny videos. Take on a small project you’ve been putting off such as clearing out a closet. You’ll give yourself a sense of control and accomplishment.

3 – Start your day with a small win. What small task can you do early that gives you a sense of accomplishment?

4 – Acknowledge and even reward yourself for every step in the right direction. Every dollar you reduce your debt by is an accomplishment. Don’t focus on how much you have yet to go. Focus on your progress, and give yourself credit every time you make a wise decision.

Dr. Lombardo is on a mission to help us realize striving for perfection is impossible. It leads to unnecessary strain and struggle. It’s based in the fear of not being enough. Instead, she suggests, learn how to live a passion-driven existence, where your sense of self worth is based on your values, not your comparison to others. When we loosen our grip on the fear, fear loses its grip on us, and we are not only more creative and productive, we begin to enjoy our life, experiences and relationships more, and I think that’s something we all want.

If this hits close to home for you, I highly recommend you pick up her book “Better Than Perfect – 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love.”  Click here to check it out.

Wishing you much love and happiness,

Keryl Pesce

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @kerylpesce

Follow me on Facebook as Keryl Pesce.

To get a free copy of 22 Questions That Could Change Your Life, text HAPPIER to 22828.

 

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