The importance of gratitude was recognized as far back as 54 BCE when author/politician Cicero claimed in a letter that “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
Apparently, he really thought highly of being thankful! More recently, scientific research on the psychology of gratitude has found a plethora of benefits, from increasing your mental and physical well-being to improving your interpersonal relationships.
One benefit in particular caught my attention because it could have big implications for your ability to achieve your financial goals. Studies have demonstrated that people that practice gratitude are better able to delay economic benefits – in other words, grateful people are better at saving! Perhaps Cicero wasn’t too far off the mark with his bold claims back in BCE!
The Road to Gratitude
While this finding might be promising news for your financial plan, being grateful takes practice. Most research studies found that the positive benefits of gratitude were only realized when gratitude was practiced regularly over extended periods of time (several months). Once these positive benefits started appearing, they also started increasing over time. Essentially, the longer research participants practiced gratitude, the greater the positive benefits of the practice.
Ready to up your thankful game and crush your savings goals? Here are three ideas to get started:
1. Start a gratitude journal.
A gratitude journal helps you slow down and really focus on what you’re thankful for. It’s also a physical reminder to keep up the practice – you see the journal and remember to take a moment throughout your day.
Keep it next to your bed and every night write down at least one thing that you were grateful for that day. When you need a mood boost or a little gratitude inspiration, you’ll have an entire journal full.
2. Play the gratitude game
If you have left-over Halloween Skittles and kids, you might especially like this one:
Put a mini-bag of Skittles (or M&M’s) in a bowl. When it’s their turn, each player closes their eyes, takes a Skittle and makes a statement based on the color of Skittle the draw.
- Red = share a person you are grateful for
- Orange = name an experience you are grateful for
- Yellow = Tell about a skill you are grateful for
- Green = share a memory you are grateful for
- Purple = tell about a place you are grateful for
Now, eat the Skittle! My family had a lot of fun with this game – and it was the longest-lasting bag of Skittles ever.
3. Write an impromptu thank you letter
Think of someone that you are grateful for and write them a letter telling them why. Bonus points if you can hand-deliver the letter. This one will make you and the other person both feel good: win-win!
So here’s your financial planning recommendation for the month: Add a simple act of gratitude to your to-do list every day, and keep going. If you forget one day, just pick it back up again the next day. Pretty soon being thankful will become a mindless habit, and hopefully you find yourself with a healthy savings account and collection of many other virtues along the way!
Practice Gratitude with Clarity
Are you ready to start focusing on what’s really important? Need help planning your financial future based around your priorities? Clarity is here to help. Click here to schedule a consultation today.