Understanding our money behaviour: Mind reading

Mind reading is assuming you know what other people think.

It’s quite normal to use cues from certain behaviors, words, and reactions to get an idea what someone is thinking, and that can be helpful when we’re interacting with other people.

On the other hand, ‘mind reading’ can be problematic when we rely on it too much without too much evidence to support out thinking. Negative and inaccurate mind reading can affect our mood and behaviour, and lead to frustration, stress, conflict and avoidance. For example, "I’m too embarrassed to speak to a professional (e.g. financial counsellor) about my budget or financial problems because they will think I’m stupid."

If you find yourself falling into this pattern of thinking consider, what is the evidence for and against your thoughts? Can you test out the thought? Imagine the thought were true. Would it mean more about you, or more about the other person?  What are the costs and benefits of believing this thought? 

Try acting counter to the thought. This can really get us out of our comfort zone, but our behavior often has a way of making self-fulfilling prophesies. By trying something new, or acting in an opposite way to what we feel, you may end up with a result you didn’t expect.

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Jenny Rolfe