Excerpt: 'Lighten Up' By Peter Walsh

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You know what I'm going to say to that: Yes! Remember what I've always said: it's not about the stuff. Experience has shown again and again that if you focus on "the stuff," you are never going to get to the root cause of a cluttered, unhappy life. I say the same thing about the stuff of money and your financial compass: If you just look at the money (and the credit cards, and interest rates, and rules to retirements accounts, and budgeting formulas, and so on), you will never get at the root of financial distress. If you define yourself by your possessions and financial status, you'll never find peace of mind, lasting contentment, and deep-rooted happiness. You can make spreadsheets, concoct elaborate budgets and spending plans, read the latest personal finance guru's book, or speak with financial advisors until the cows come home. But to truly understand what is happening you have to look at why buying more and acquiring more is so important to you. You have to look at where you're attempting to find happiness and decide whether it's really causing you pleasure or just more pain. It's easy enough to understand the need for change, it's tough to embrace that change in your everyday life. Only then can you get to the heart of your consumption, deal with it in an honest way, and create a vision for the life you want for yourself and your family. Only then can you define who you really are and live up to that person every single day with excitement and pleasure.

And that's exactly what we're going to do together in this book. In the same way that I conquered clutter in your home (and on your butt and in your mind) in my previous books, Lighten Up will help you to wade through your financial mess, and clear a path to financial health and emotional harmony. I can't guarantee you instant happiness but I am going to show you how to live a life of abundance on less in a way that doesn't plunge you deeper into misery and despair, and my suspicion is that with a changed mind-set will come a sense of calm, authentic personal identity, and . . . yes . . .happiness. Your well-being doesn't have to be measured by monetary wealth. I'll show you how to capitalize on where you derive happiness, and help you to realize that your truest sources of pleasure and joy are actually free. I'm also going to help you see that what you already have is more than most people in previous generations ever dreamed about having, and with a little bit of mental and, in some cases, physical rearranging and reprioritizing, you can come to view

your life from a completely different place. To that end, I'll show you how to psychologically transform your pain, anxieties, and anguish into a spring of courage and action no matter how much you've lost or had to give up.

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