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I’ve been mulling over a post about gratitude for the past couple days and stumbled across the video above. If you haven’t seen it yet, please take 90 seconds and watch it. I think it’s a powerful depiction of how blessed most of us truly are.
With that said, my wife and I are working diligently to complete our thank-you notes for all the gifts that we received over Christmas. We are truly blessed to have such generous and wonderful friends and family.
Writing thank-you cards was something that was ingrained in both my wife and me by our mothers from an early age. I may sound old-fashioned, but there’s something special about receiving a handwritten note.
I still remember so clearly after our wedding. My wife and I spent a whole week sending out thank-you notes. We agreed that we wouldn’t open up a new gift until the previous gift’s thank-you note had been written. I still abide by that rule today. If I receive a check or cash gift, I won’t cash it or use it until I have written a thank-you note. That’s to ensure that I don’t forget.
Once our son is old enough to write, we plan to encourage him to write thank-you notes as well. Our thinking is if someone is kind enough to give a gift, the least you can do is write a note back expressing gratitude.
I truly believe that happy people are thankful people. Of course at times thankfulness doesn’t come automatically. Sometimes you really need to pause in reflection and be intentional about it. Recently, I have read numerous studies linking the positive effects of showing gratitude in our everyday lives.
Gratitude & Health
Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at University of California Davis, says, “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations.” As I mentioned in a previous article, men who exercise on average earn 6% more, and women on average make 10% more. It is interesting to see how all of these areas intersect with each other.
Emmons also found that the positivity of grateful people helps them to manage stress better.
Gratitude & Optimism and Income
In Picture Your Prosperity: Smart Money Moves to Turn Your Vision Into Reality, Rogin and Kueng claim, “Gratitude has also been shown to raise optimism levels as well as self-esteem. And people who are highly positive and have strong self-esteem have higher incomes.”
List Aspinwall, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, also concluded that grateful people are more optimistic. She connected optimism also to improved immune function, another health benefit.
Gratitude & Spending
People that show gratitude are less likely to buy impulsively. Grateful people demonstrated the ability to be financially patient.
I don’t know about you, but there have definitely been too many moments when I have not been a fiscally prudent. My best and worst example of an impulse buy is when I bought Chipotle stock, right after the E.coli scare. Terrible purchase in hindsight and definitely something that I should have waited on.
It has been found that gratitude triggers patience and the ability to wait for a greater financial gain. There is less of an emphasis on short-term gratification and greater focus on future rewards, according to a recent issue of Psychological Science.
The most effective way to foster gratitude is via a “gratitude journal”. In this journal, one simply writes down experiences that cause him or her to be grateful. The goal is to record at least 3 experiences daily.
By doing this for just 2 weeks, research has shown lasting beneficial effects lasting up to 6 months. Who knew such a small task could lead to such wonderful results?!
While I had never connected gratitude with financial success, it’s interesting to learn how much it can improve our lives. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?
So readers, what do you think? Have you noticed a correlation between gratitude and your finances, or your overall well-being? Share your experiences below.