It is widely accepted that showing gratitude is a positive thing.
We may say grace before a meal or encourage our children to write thank you notes for Christmas presents. In addition, there is a growing body of evidence that an attitude of gratitude can also have a positive effect on our health, wellbeing and bank balance.
Researchers from 3 leading US universities carried out the following experiment.
They divided participants into 3 groups. Group 1 were asked to spend 5 minutes writing about an experience which made them feel grateful. Group 2 wrote about something which made them happy, and group 3 were asked to focus on the events of a typical day.
Next each group were asked to make a series of choices to receive an amount of money now or a greater amount in the future.
Those in the happy or neutral groups, i.e. groups 2 and 3 opted for instant gratification. On average they took $55 upfront to forgo $85 in 3 months time.
Group 1, aka the Grateful group exhibited more patience and self-control needing an average of $63 to give up the future gain. Equating to a 12% difference over the other groups.
Another study, from researchers at Berkeley, California looked at the effect of gratitude on subjects’ mental health. Their findings showed that expressing gratitude via a letter (which may or may not be ever sent) had a demonstrable impact on mental health and over time a lasting effect on the brain.
Although this second study did not focus specifically on money its not too great a leap to say that if our attitude is one of appreciation and our mental health is in good shape, we are likely to be more productive, optimistic and open to new financial opportunities.
Other studies such as UC Davis focussed on the health benefits of gratitude, reporting lower blood pressure, risk of depression, improved immunity, better sleep and lower risk of substance abuse or suicide.
Harvard professor and best-selling author, Shawn Achor uses daily gratitude practices with clients to help people change their thinking and behaviour. Some of his results include increased productivity by 37%, sales increase by 37% and likelihood of being promoted 40%. All of which are likely to see a benefit in your bank balance.
Gratitude is also an exercise on focusing energy on what you have rather than what is missing. To quote Janet Attwood, “Where your attention goes energy flows” or in financial terms what you appreciate, appreciates.
It seems to me that the many benefits of expressing gratitude on a regular basis will yield results in both mental and physical health as well as financially and therefore deserves closer attention.
Please leave comments below on your experience with a gratitude practice.
Thank you 🙂