It is the final stretch before our tax deadline... this may cause all kinds of reactions. In my world, it is an opportunity to respond to whatever the result may be from a grounded stance.
What does a 'grounded' response to taxes look like? Glad you asked! Check out my suggestions below. I actually think this can be helpful in many situations, not just with taxes. As the unexpected bill, or windfall, can often trigger impulsive actions that look like a crazy ball bounced in a small room.
To your thoughtful relationship with money - taxes included!
Staying Grounded - Responding Mindfully to a Tax Bill or Tax Refund
(written with the extremes in mind, but helpful for a 'tax event' of any size)
The very first step is to plant your feet and find centering with your breath.
After a few inhales, and exhales, notice your level of activation - this can be excitement or anxiety - but give it a number on a scale of zero to five.
Next, notice and name the emotion that you are experiencing: fear, overwhelm, shame, excitement?
What sensations are in your body? Where are you experiencing the anxiety? The excitement?
What thoughts are running through your mind? What are you telling yourself? Write these down.
Breathe, allowing your breath to bring you closer and closer to neutral.
Writing down the thoughts in your mind can be overwhelming - but it helps to get them on paper. It provides an outlet, and also a slight perspective shift.
Write down the amount you owe. This feels negative, but what is the positive about this number? I will give you a hint... you earned enough money (perhaps more than you ever have) and this tax bill represents a portion of that earning. Another - slightly less rosy - hint is that it is serving as a clear signal to do things differently going forward, cause this is not something you want to repeat! Without solving the 'how', allow this shift in perspective help neutralize. From this state you are able to access solutions that may have been blocked before.
Write down the amount of your refund. Write down all the ways you want to spend it, without censoring. Then look at the list and add amounts if possible. Maybe order it according to desire, to responsibility, or some other scale. Pretend you are your 5 years older self, your 30 years older self, your 1 year older self...How does each of your future selves wish you would spend that money? Listen to your future "selves". Listen to your current self. Is there a way to satisfy both?
This experience, like the hundreds we are given each day, is really just another opportunity to respond thoughtfully, consciously, and proactively, within our relationship with money. The more you work this muscle, the stronger and more financially agile you will be.