With the Thanksgiving holiday over and our leftovers neatly packed away in the fridge, it’s common for many of us to immediately switch gears from showing gratitude for all the things that we have, to longing for the shiny and new that generally accompanies the holiday season.
In a rush to jump ahead to exchanging gifts, we’ve almost marginalized the idea of giving thanks and resigned it to just one day. It’s even less if you’re anxious to get the best deals on buying more ‘stuff’.
Let me be clear, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to surprise your friends and family with gifts that express your love and appreciation for them. In fact, you should! And while all types of material gifts are given throughout the year for birthdays, anniversaries and the like, the one gift that we could all afford to give more of, seems to get seriously undervalued.
“Gratitude is the open door to abundance” – Yogi Bhajan
By definition, gratitude is a feeling of happiness that comes from appreciation. With our daily lives moving at break-neck speed, it’s often difficult to take a step back and reflect with gratitude on all that we’ve been given throughout the year.
Here are a few reasons why practicing gratitude in your daily life will not just change your attitude, but maybe your finances as well.
1) Reduces our desire for material things
We are constantly inundated by messages that lead us to believe that what we currently have is not enough. Showing gratitude helps reduce our tendency to measure our worth by the “stuff” that we can acquire and instead shifts that focus toward contentment with the things we already have.
If you are genuinely appreciative for what you have, you are far less likely to pay attention to or desire what the ‘Joneses’ have.
How to do this:
Rather than complaining about the things that you lack, make a concerted effort to embrace a sense of gratitude for what you have – no matter how big or small. Fairly quickly you will begin to notice a gradual shift in your overall thinking.
2) Increases self-worth
Research has shown that gratitude greatly reduces social comparisons and creates an appreciation of others’ accomplishments rather than a sense of competition.
The ability to recognize the successes of others without comparing them to yourself allows you to enjoy the maximum satisfaction from your current circumstances. This, in turn, increases your own feelings of self-worth.
While having a high self-worth is great and all, it’s even better to know that there is a positive correlation between having high self-worth and increased income.
How to do this:
Without trying to sound too ‘woo-woo’, one easy way to stay aware of what you’re thankful for, is to keep a “gratitude journal”. Every couple of days, spend a few minutes reflecting on what you are grateful for and write it down in your journal. Try to be detailed, but not so much so that you end up with a superficial list of many things.
3) Strengthens relationships
Having a sense of gratitude makes you aware of the network of relationships that are responsible for helping you get to this point in your life. As a result, showing gratitude helps us make more friends and deepen our existing relationships.
Ever heard the phrase, “it’s not what you know, but who you know”? Well, the simple act of showing gratitude could possibly land you your next job as nearly 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking.
How to do this:
Whenever someone improves your life in a positive manner, you should immediately let them know how their act of generosity affected you. It’s easy to send a text message or say thank you in passing, but often that’s just not enough. If you truly want to convey your gratitude, consider unconventional methods of showing your appreciation like writing a letter or calling the person over the phone to explain how their gesture made a difference.
Giving thanks and showing gratitude shouldn’t be a once-a-year experience. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to show your appreciation for the things that you have and the people that positively affect your life. And just think of the benefits! By cultivating an attitude of gratitude, you will actually feel happier and more satisfied with your life. As an added benefit, you might even put a few extra dollars in your pocket. Who doesn’t need more of that?
Do you have any tips to add? What are you doing to show gratitude throughout the year?
This post was written by Kelby from TheFrugalennial.com
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.