Carl Richards, in his Sketch Guy column in the NY Times discusses the benefits of Mindfulness in making financial decisions.

Mr. Richards notes that people try to form good new habits only to continuously fall back on old habits. He notes the following:

…take a look at the market for productivity tools. There are more apps than ever before, but we still struggle to accomplish tasks.

So if solutions tend not to come from tools, what’s really happening in our heads? Why is there a gap between all this great intention and our behavior? I suspect it’s because, in part, of how fast we now respond to stimulus. In our modern world, we’ve been trained to respond to things immediately.

Just think about how hard it is to avoid checking your email when you hear the familiar ding. Some of us even suffer from phantom phone vibration. We’re so attuned to these signals that we will respond to them even when they haven’t really happened. So is it truly a surprise that we allow ourselves no time to think or reflect before we react?

So what if instead of just acting (or reacting) we stopped, took a deep breath, and checked how we’re feeling at that moment?

The word that researchers like Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn have used to describe this idea is “mindfulness.” In an interview with The Harvard Business Review, another researcher named Ellen Langer, who has spent nearly four decades studying the topic, describes mindfulness as “the process of actively noticing new things.” She goes on to suggest that “when you’re mindful, rules, routines, and goals guide you; they don’t govern you.”

Read more at Being Mindful Can Help Guide a Decision – NYTimes.com.

Posted by Lewis J. Saret, Co-General Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.