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22 tips for 2022: Money problems don't just disappear. Here's how to face them

Illustration of a person in miniature hiding underneath a tented wallet on a desk, peering out to a tablescape of bills, finance apps, a laptop, receipts and a few drinks, symbolizing hiding from money problems.
Cha Pornea for NPR

Whether you're worried about keeping the lights on or you're feeling the pressure of student debt, financial woes are a heavy mental burden, and it's only natural to try to turn away from them. But avoiding money issues is often at the expense of our longer-term financial — and mental — wellbeing.

To upend problematic money behavior, try doing an audit of your last few money interactions.

Ask yourself questions like, "What felt good or bad? When did you feel like running away? Did avoiding the money problem lead you to a solution?"

"It can be as simple as noticing, you know, "Oh, when I think about money... I go and clean my kitchen," explains Dr. Judson Brewer, psychiatrist and neuroscientist. "And then what's the result of that? Well, I'm not actually getting at whatever the issue is where I need to pay my bills."

Practicing some simple mindfulness by mapping out our money-avoidance patterns can help dispel that anxious energy and help you reset for the future.


Here's more on how to address issues with money.

22 tips for 2022 is edited and curated by Dalia Mortada, Arielle Retting, Janet W. Lee, Beck Harlan, Beth Donovan and Meghan Keane. This tip comes from an episode of Life Kit hosted by Andee Tagle and produced by Sylvie Douglis.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andee Tagle
Andee Tagle (she/her) is an associate producer and now-and-then host for NPR's Life Kit podcast.