The Secret Ingredient
There are a lot of tried-and-true strategies for increasing your wealth: capitalizing on compound interest, spending less than we make and investing wisely. But there’s one ingredient that’s often left out of most personal finance lessons — and its effects can be profound and immediate.
Read on for ways that gratitude, a surprisingly powerful tool, can benefit your financial life and your overall well-being — and how to put it into practice so you can start reaping the rewards.
Start by Acknowledging What You’re Grateful For Each Day
No activity you only do once in a while will make a worthwhile difference in your life. So how can you start practicing gratitude in your daily routine without it feeling like a chore? Make it a point each day to pick three things you’re grateful for and write them down, then share it with your family around the dinner table or in bed with your partner before you turn out the lights. These activities only take a few minutes and can quickly become habit. Before you know it, you’ll start reaping the rewards.
Everything Around You Will Begin to Feel Different
Our lives are simply an amalgamation of what we choose to notice, and there are an infinite number of things in our immediate environment, between real life and technology, that we could choose to pay attention to. What we choose to train our attention on is what we consciously think about.
So if we choose to focus on what we’re grateful for, our overall feeling of well-being improves. We find the world to be a kinder place. You’ll start to notice more things to appreciate. Your feeling of abundance just keeps growing and growing.
It Pays Off
A recent study showed that a daily gratitude practice enhances alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy. And guess what? People who have those qualities are going to be more likely to get a raise, be chosen for a job, be chosen by customers and be paid what they’re worth. (And conversely, an Allianz study actually found that lack of attentiveness can make you more likely to lose money.) People who possess these positive qualities add tremendous value to the world, so they will be more likely to have higher earnings.
Non-Material Wealth Counts, Too
Wealth takes many forms. Part of it is the amount in your bank account, sure. But part of it is also your health, your relationships, your enjoyment of life and your feeling of fulfillment. When you’re taking a look around your life for signs of abundance to be grateful for, don’t leave out your physical well-being, your amazing friends, your loving family and other forms of abundance that are non-material. When we put our attention on the ways we’re wealthy outside our bank account (while not ignoring our material wealth), it’s a lot easier to feel satisfied.
You Won’t Need to Overspend
When we practice daily gratitude, we feel more abundant automatically. There’s a fundamental feeling of fullness and satisfaction that colors all of our days. The practice of gratitude fills us up on a deeper level and our impulsive spending decreases. For example, we no longer feel the need to go shoe shopping to fill an emotional chasm. Instead, we spend money only on what we need and what we value. Living in daily gratitude reminds us of how rich our lives already are so that we’re not trying to fill an emptiness by spending beyond our means.
You Can Enjoy the Journey
I’m a big believer in setting financial goals and thinking big. However, when we’re always chasing the next financial marker of success, we sometimes forget to enjoy what happens along the way. Having a daily gratitude practice helps us stay present along the way to our incredible achievements. We’ve all had a moment when we reached a big goal and it didn’t feel as good as we’d imagined because we forgot to enjoy getting there. Make your money goals count emotionally and financially by practicing being grateful for small success and daily enjoyments along the way.
Your Self-Worth Will Increase
Leading gratitude researcher Robert Emmons says that gratitude may increase our sense of self-worth. He suggests that people who have a regular habit of noticing how the world is actually working for them instead of against them tend to have higher self-worth. Why is this? Well, if you train yourself to notice the good things that happen to you on a regular basis, you’ll begin to wire in the belief that you’re a person worthy of good things. And you know what’s awesome about having higher self-worth? Usually those with higher self-worth make more money and are better stewards of the money they already have.