Updated: December 24, 2020
The connection isn’t obvious, but as someone who has kept a gratitude journal for many years, I can attest that being thankful has helped me improve my personal finance.
I didn’t believe it either at first, but the science I’ve read is undeniable. So I tried it, and the benefits have been tremendous.
Being thankful doesn’t cost any money nor does it take much time to do, and yet it’s one of the most overlooked strategies in enhancing the quality of one’s life and consequently, building wealth.
What is a gratitude journal?
One of the best ways to practice gratitude is to write about it every day.
Inside the Starbucks planners, which I’ve collected through the years are not appointments and meetings, but a list of things that made me smile, made me laugh, made me happy that day — things that I’m grateful for.
It can be as simple as that caramel sundae I had for dessert or a funny meme I saw on Facebook, or as earnest as the kindness that I received or the sense of accomplishment which I felt in finishing a difficult task.
Here’s a 10-minute clip of me talking about my Gratitude Journal from a live stream on my Youtube channel.
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
Keeping a Gratitude Journal has made me more appreciative of the people I get to meet and talk to every day. And while saying “Thank You” seems to be just a simple act, the positive effect it brings to others and yourself is valuable.
1. Gratitude helps expand your network.
Showing appreciation can help you win new friends. According to a 2014 study, thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.
2. Gratitude boosts your physical well-being.
A 2012 study found that grateful people experience fewer aches and pains. They also tend to exercise more often and more likely to take care of their health.
3. Gratitude is good for your mental health.
Psychologist, professor, and author Robert A. Emmons claims that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression. It helps decrease feelings of envy, resentment, frustration, regret, and other negative emotions.
4. Gratitude makes you kinder.
People who regularly practice gratitude have stronger empathy. A 2012 study has discovered that they are more considerate of other people’s feelings and show less aggression, even when others behave badly towards them.
5. Grateful people sleep better.
Writing in a gratitude journal before bed will help you sleep better and longer. This was the conclusion from a 2011 study.
6. Gratitude increases your self-esteem.
A 2014 study has found that gratitude reduces one’s tendency to do social comparisons. Grateful people can appreciate other people’s success, and less likely to feel resentment towards others who have more money or better jobs.
7. Gratitude fosters resilience.
Grateful people have higher mental strength. They handle stress and overcome trauma better. This has been proven in a 2006 study, which found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of PTSD.
Gratitude and Wealth
Having a grateful mindset helps improve your health – both physically and mentally. This, of course, helps you become more productive and brings out optimal performance at work.
Opportunities are always connected to people. And gratitude helps in making you more pro-social, to interact and communicate better with other people.
Lastly, it makes you emotionally stronger. It provides mental toughness to overcome life’s challenges and difficulties, to persist through failures, and push forward towards your goals.
So, if there’s one habit you ought to learn this new year, why not try practicing gratitude? You’ll thank me for it.
- Lisa A. Williams, Monica Y. Bartlett. Warm Thanks: Gratitude Expression Facilitates Social Affiliation in New Relationships via Perceived Warmth. Emotion, 2014.
- Patrick L. Hill, Mathias Allemand, and Brent W. Roberts. Examining the Pathways between Gratitude and Self-Rated Physical Health across Adulthood. Personality and Individual Differences, 2012.
- Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin, 2007.
- Dewall, Nathan & Lambert, Nathaniel & Pond, Jr, Richard & Kashdan, Todd & Fincham, Frank. A Grateful Heart is a Nonviolent Heart: Cross-Sectional, Experience Sampling, Longitudinal, and Experimental Evidence. Social Psychological and Personality Science. 3. 232-240. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2012.
- Nancy Digdon, Amy Koble. Effects of Constructive Worry, Imagery Distraction, and Gratitude Interventions on Sleep Quality: A Pilot Trial. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 2011.
- Lung Hung Chen, Chiahuei Wu. Gratitude Enhances Change in Athletes’ Self-Esteem: The Moderating Role of Trust in Coach. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 2014.
- Todd B Kashdan, Gitendra Uswatte, Terri Julian. Gratitude and hedonic and eudaimonic well-being in Vietnam war veterans. Behavior Research and Therapy, 2006.