When facing financial obstacles, our feelings might leap to stress, jealousy or failure. Expressing gratitude might be our last impulse, but according to a wide range of studies, it’s one of our most effective tools for success.
Gratitude is simply expressing appreciation for the good things in our life and humbly acknowledging those outside of ourselves who have contributed to this goodness, whether its our family, community, nature or a higher power, according to Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of Psychology at UC Davis and author of Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity.
Scientific studies show that gratitude leads to improved relationships, better physical and psychological health, greater empathy, reduced aggression, better sleep, stronger self-esteem and sharper mental strength.
If that’s not enough to prompt you to express gratitude to your loved ones, colleagues and everyone you run across, here are ways that gratitude can grow your wealth.
Gratitude reframes your financial outlook
Let’s be honest. When we think about our financial health, it’s difficult not to play the comparison game. We may feel jealous when our colleague gets the promotion, or when an acquaintance lands that coveted high-paying job, or when that other couple bought that dream house. Jealousy leads to a scarcity mindset. It stalls action and leads to protective behavior, which keeps others, and opportunities, at a distance.
But gratitude leads to an abundance mindset. By taking time to meditate or simply remind ourselves of what we do have, we remember that our lives are very full. The simple exercise of specifically naming all that makes our lives good — our loving family, a warm bed to sleep in at night, food on the table, resources to help us grow and prosper – reframes our personal financial outlook. Gratitude boosts our confidence, leads to generosity and invites people and opportunities our way.
Gratitude creates a positive feedback loop
The very act of saying thank you sets off a cycle of positivity. The person receiving your gratitude feels appreciated and motivated to continue to bring goodness into your life, and in turn, you reap the benefits of their strengthened esteem and motivation. Expressing gratitude often leads others to express their gratitude for you, and the cycle of appreciation keeps on spinning.
And of course, your gratitude must be sincere and heartfelt. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
People will remember if you made them feel good or bad, and that will either open or close doors of opportunity for your future. If you are a person who exudes gratitude, people will remember your positive attitude and generosity. This may come back to you in positive ways, such as job recommendations, promotions or partnerships for exciting projects.
Gratitude can curb spending
When you remind yourself of all you do have, you’re less likely to view your life as lacking. You’ll be less likely to try to fill the void with materialistic purchases. Take a moment to express gratitude for your own life. Write down all of the ways your needs are met. Even if your life isn’t perfect (side note: nobody’s is), take note of all the beautiful, simple things you experience each day. Perhaps it’s waking up next to the person you love or hugging your best friend when you meet for your weekly brunch. Maybe it’s a faith community that has your back or parents that come through for you when you need them. Maybe it’s something really simple, like fresh strawberries on a summer morning or the feeling of the breeze when you walk to work.
So, even when you are in the midst of a tough financial moment, remember that there is action you can take, and that action can be as simple as a deep breath and finding what you are thankful for.
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