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How to Shift Your Relationship With Money From Stress to Success

By Ken Honda | Published April 18, 2023

The first step to healing your relationship with money is recognizing that you have one. If you want to experience less stress around money, it’s necessary to increase your emotional awareness as part of the process. Although it takes practice, identifying the emotions that come up when you receive or spend money is a great place to start.

I’m Ken Honda, and I’ve been teaching about the relationship between money and happiness in Japanese (and more recently, English) for over 20 years. My experience and research on the topic have taught me that there are only three main relationships that almost everyone in the world has created with their money.

How do you feel when you think about money? Take a deep breath and think about it right now. Does money make you feel irritated and depressed? For some of us, it brings up deep feelings of anxiety or fear. It can also make a lot of people just tune out and feel numb. However, it’s not all negative. Money can also make you feel excited, peaceful, and even happy.

If you’re reading this now, it’s likely that you feel stressed about money sometimes. Can you identify when you’re feeling stressed about money the most? It’s important to realize that money itself is not the source of your stress, but the emotions that come up around certain issues are the actual source of your suffering.

This is because so many of us actually seek money to gain something else: peace of mind, security, freedom, power, or respect. However, the actual source of our worries is never the money itself. You have to dig a little deeper to find the source.

People who have a happy and healthy relationship with money often treat it as their friend. Here are a few things that people with low money-stress have in common:

  • They don’t stress out about the future or things they can’t control.
  • They don’t believe in the myth of scarcity.
  • They don’t need money to keep up with the Joneses.
  • They know that happiness is a choice they can make daily.
  • They are okay with where they are and who they are, and they do what they love.
  • Most importantly, they aren’t afraid of money.

If you’re looking to create more peace and less stress in your relationship with money, here are five tips from me on how to shift out of the state of stress and into the flow of Happy Money:

1. Shift out of the scarcity mind-set: When you change your mindset to one of abundance, you begin seeing new possibilities, you become more creative, and you become more capable of responding to difficulties in life.

2. Forgive and heal your money wounds: Your attitudes about money are mostly inherited. You can break the cycle of Unhappy Money by forgiving your parents and grandparents, and, just as importantly, forgiving yourself as well.

3. Discover your gifts: The more you develop your gifts and the more you share your gifts, the more Happy Money you will attract. People who are successful in all kinds of fields credit their success to a love for what they do.

4. Trust life: Trust and fear cannot coexist. It is one or the other. When we trust, we are free from expectations. We know that everything that happens, positive or negative, will end up working out to support our lives. When we trust, we are able to become our authentic selves.

5. Say thank you all the time: Take every chance you get to show your gratitude. If you live in the flow of gratitude, your life will be full of unexpected miracles!

I often say that there are only two core issues around money that you can possibly have: You’re either spending too much, or not earning enough. Understanding this fundamental problem can help you see your next step more clearly. You either need to get creative and start earning more, perhaps in ways you never thought of before, or you can choose to start spending less.

When you appreciate the money going out as much as you appreciate the money coming in, you start to understand what it means to create a flow of Happy Money. To say “arigato” to your money when it comes in, and “arigato” when it goes out — this is the method my mentor taught me years ago which I still use today.

When you begin to see that money flows in a cycle and can never truly run out, you expose the myth of scarcity for the lie that it is. We can never truly run out, because it flows infinitely. We just have to get a little creative and move into the flow or learn to create a healthier flow so that you can live with much more trust in money and feel a sense of peace and security. This peace of mind will give you true freedom from money stress.

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