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We’ve both practiced gratitude, yet it’s not as ingrained of a daily habit as either of us would like it to be. Still, we’ve witnessed how the practice of gratefulness has helped us and others in numerous ways so we continue to strive to do better.
At this time of year, it’s natural to reflect on all we’re grateful for. It’s also natural to think about what you want to give back – even if that just means being more appreciative of those around you.
Countless studies show the benefits of gratitude and giving back.
For example, one study showed that participants who wrote down three things they were thankful for every day saw their immune systems improve.
Another study found that people with higher levels of gratitude had lower stress levels, healthier relationships, and increased life satisfaction.
And still, more research suggests that people who gave money or goods away felt happier than those who kept them in their possession.
So why wouldn’t we want to cultivate gratitude and generosity?
Why Gratitude Is Important
Gratitude can affect our health, happiness, and overall wellbeing. As such, cultivating a grateful attitude helps build resilience. Resiliency refers to our ability to bounce back after adversity. This includes overcoming trauma, abuse, loss, disease, injury, or another setback.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie
It can also increase motivation and drive because it encourages people to achieve goals and live enriched lives.
People who regularly express thankfulness have increased energy and vitality. They feel more confident and less anxious, experience less depression, anxiety, and pain.
They also enjoy better sleep, greater self-esteem, more personal growth, and longer lifespans.
When we cultivate gratitude, we become aware of the beauty and wonder of everyday life. A simple act of gratitude can change your whole perspective on a situation and improve your outlook on life.
“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” Naomi Williams
The Power Of Generosity: The Science
There are numerous reasons for cultivating gratitude and generosity. For starters, when you practice acts of kindness, it makes you feel better.
Studies show volunteers experience less anxiety and depression and making charitable donations positively impacts our health.
But beyond simply making us feel good, acts of generosity can have tangible benefits. For example, donating blood is associated with lower stress levels, improved emotional wellbeing, a sense of belonging, and a reduction in negative emotions.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to donate large amounts of cash or goods to reap these rewards. You can start small by volunteering your time or offering up an act of kindness.
In addition to feeling good, practicing acts of kindness can help you become more compassionate.
One study suggests that the brain is most receptive to compassion during high arousal, such as anger and fear. So by acting kindly toward yourself, you’re able to tap into your own capacity for empathy.
Beyond the physical sense of wellbeing, research supports the idea that practicing acts of generosity helps build your character.
Several studies found that the people who give frequently develop greater self-esteem and better social skills. That’s because generosity builds trust, empathy, and connection – qualities essential to creating healthy relationships.
Further, generosity isn’t just an act of charity; it’s also an important part of building wealth.
We often focus only on earning money – which is essential – but we forget that money alone doesn’t guarantee happiness. Regardless of whether you’re wealthy or not, a lack of gratitude will hold you back.
The Power of Gratitude in Building Wealth
Gratitude isn’t only good for your health and relationships; it can also benefit your finances.
A review of several studies on gratitude practice and marital strength showed that husbands and wives who were both grateful had stronger marriages. And those who expressed gratitude towards their partner also reported higher levels of financial security.
In other words, being thankful can strengthen your relationship and your bank account. So the next time you’re tempted to complain about your partner or get angry, try instead to think of something about them you’re grateful for.
Another study examined the relationship between gratitude and financial success. Researchers found that grateful people tended to earn more money and experience greater satisfaction with life.
Other research found that when employees made a conscious effort to express gratitude to others, they became more productive. As a result, they gained mentors, earned greater incomes, and received promotions faster.
And companies that actively cultivate a culture of generosity experienced less employee turnover and increased profits, in turn helping them outperform their competitors.
So, start cultivating gratitude if you want to attain financial freedom while enjoying a happy and resilient future.
You’ll feel better, have more energy, and increase your opportunities and chances of achieving your goals. It may be one of the simplest ways to transform your future and help you along the path to becoming financially independent.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
How do you foster gratitude? Practice it.
You might feel some benefits relatively soon, but others may not appear for a month or two. And, of course, significant impacts on your health and finances may not occur for quite some time. The sooner you begin, the quicker you’ll benefit, though!
Here are several ways to experience an “attitude of gratitude” in daily life:
- Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. This allows you to appreciate all the good things you already have (abundance mindset) instead of constantly thinking about what you don’t have (scarcity mindset).
- Another way to cultivate gratefulness is to think of someone you care about or admire: a friend, family member, leader, or coworker. When you spend time being thankful for good people in your life and reflecting on others’ successes, you’ll also become happier.
- Aside from the people you’re grateful for, you can also reflect on and express thankfulness for places, traditions, food, experiences, activities, career responsibilities, and more.
- You might also consider generosity and volunteering. By helping others, you’ll help yourself by improving your wellness and self-esteem. So give back whenever possible, and you’ll reap many rewards.
- Let go of anything negative in your past and concentrate on what’s positive now. For instance, if you’ve been through difficult times, remind yourself that you’re a survivor. If you’ve had bad luck, think about all the ways you’ve overcome adversity and moved forward.
You can become better at practicing being appreciative through:
- Listing what you’re thankful for in a gratitude journal
- Spending time with positive people in your life
- Networking with coworkers and clients
- Practicing mindfulness
- Volunteering time or donating financially
- Actively experiencing nature through walking, hiking, gardening, bird watching, sailing/boating, fishing, and hunting, or outdoor photography
But whatever method you choose, keep a notebook nearby and write down 3-5 things each day that you’re grateful for. This simple exercise can transform your attitude, improve your life outlook, and increase your financial health.
Gratitude Improves Health and Wealth
It’s easier to be thankful during the holidays, but don’t stop there. Foster an attitude of gratitude all year long.
Daily acknowledgment of what you’re grateful for can boost your earnings and improve your financial life in addition to your health and wellness.
Start thanking and being generous with the people around you today. Not only will your generosity help others, but in turn, it can also help you build a financially secure future and be more content. Plus, you’ll feel better, and so will everyone else!