Summary: In this article learn about the power of gratitude and why it’s essential for building wealth and creating financial freedom.
A few years ago during a counseling session, my therapist suggested I start writing down three things I was grateful for each day to help me deal with a deep depression. In my mind I was rolling my eyes, thinking this was some new-age nonsense. But after a week of doing it, I was a convert and believed the hype. It helped lessen depression and anxiety and gave me a greater perspective. Gratitude doesn’t just help your mind — it can help your bank account, too. Here’s why the power of gratitude shouldn’t be ignored and how you can implement this in your financial life.
How Gratitude Affects the Brain
First, let’s review how gratitude actually affects the brain. When you practice gratitude, you boost feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. On top of that, gratitude helps in a number of other ways too. According to an article on Greater Good magazine:
“We found that across the participants, when people felt more grateful, their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt and the desire to help a cause. More specifically, we found that when people who are generally more grateful gave more money to a cause, they showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making. This suggests that people who are more grateful are also more attentive to how they express gratitude.”
As you can see, gratitude can promote giving and also boosts sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which affects decision making. Building wealth is all about making good decisions when it comes to your money, so gratitude may help.
Wealth is just as much about mindset as it is numbers, so practicing gratitude can get you in the right mindset to effectively build wealth and be at peace with your relationship with money.
How To Practice Gratitude
The good thing about practicing gratitude is it is completely free, yet the benefits compound over time and can help you build a rich life, monetary or otherwise (for example, you can be rich in health or love). If you’ve never done anything like this, you might feel intimidated about getting started. But you don’t have to be.
Practicing gratitude is super easy and it’s all very personal. You can be grateful for anything, big or small. It doesn’t just have to be big things like your health or relationships. You can be grateful for a warm cup of coffee, a good hair day, or a sunny day. There are no right or wrong answers!
You can start by listing three things you’re grateful for each day. You can choose morning or night. To help make it feel more real and to be able to track it, write down the three things you’re grateful for on a piece of paper.
It will change day to day based on your work, life, commitments, etc. Remember, you can list anything that you’re grateful for, no matter how small. The key is to be consistent. As you build consistency, you’ll start to see the benefits.
When it comes to your finances, you could be grateful for the money in your checking account. You could be grateful for your debt for helping you get through hard times or be grateful you have the money to pay your bills. All of this helps shift your money mindset.
Aside from writing down three things you’re grateful for each day, you can write a thank you note to someone who has helped you. You can verbally show appreciation to your friends, family, and colleagues. You can also practice saying “thank you” more and taking an inventory throughout the day of what you’re grateful for.
Why Gratitude is Key to Building Wealth
You might think building wealth is all about money, but it’s also very much about mindset. If you want to cultivate a money mindset that helps you build wealth, gratitude is a key component. Why? Because gratitude can help shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance, help you spend less, and feel better.
Actively practicing gratitude helps you realize how much you have to be grateful for right now instead of focusing on what’s missing.
A scarcity mindset focuses on what’s missing and always wants more. It feels like there is never enough. This mindset can be harmful to your financial health because you can make poor decisions out of fear.
If you have a scarcity mindset you might be cheap (and not frugal, there is a difference) or you might never leave that job to start your own business. Maybe you hoard cash instead of investing it. Focusing on scarcity can affect you in a variety of ways.
When you are in an abundance mindset, you realize your opportunities are limitless. You don’t fear competition or think there’s never enough, you think there is always more than enough. Focusing on abundance can help you attract more money and have a healthier money mindset.
Gratitude can help build that abundance muscle. Let’s say that you have a studio apartment but you dream of having your own 2-bedroom house. You don’t have the car you want now but imagine getting a Tesla.
When you focus on gratitude, you focus on the fact that you have a roof over your head, that you’re healthy, and that your car still works instead of focusing on the fact that you don’t have a 2-bedroom house or Tesla yet.
When you focus on gratitude and enjoy and appreciate what you have now, you start to realize that you need even less than you thought. In today’s culture, we are conditioned to want more, to seek bigger and better, which of course affects our spending.
Being content with what you have now can lead to less spending because you realize you have everything you need. That doesn’t mean that you can’t strive for more. It means that you can enjoy the journey rather than feel the torment of what’s missing.
Gratitude is a powerful tool to transform your life and finances and it’s totally free. Start today by listing three things you’re grateful for and try it out for a week. You could be surprised at the results.