Gratitude can play important role in your health—from improving your physical and mental well-being to helping boost your overall financial wellness and approach to money management. When it comes to having an attitude of gratitude, you may have heard that practicing mindfulness is an important exercise. This idea can be applied to your financial life too. As we enter a season focused on thankfulness, here’s how gratitude can help with your financial wellness and ways to incorporate it into your daily life.
Financial wellness is a state of financial well-being where you can successfully manage your debts, expenses, and emergencies, while also working toward your longer-term financial goals, like saving for retirement or college education. Typically, financial wellness comes with a feeling of financial security, where you have the financial freedom to make choices in your life, while also being prepared for unexpected expenses down the road. Oftentimes, outside forces can affect our financial wellness, whether it’s the loss of a job, having to care for a family member, or experiencing a health challenge. When these life events happen, practicing gratitude may seem extremely difficult, but this perspective can help you weather the storm and more effectively determine a plan of action.
When thinking about their finances, 60% of people in the U.S. feel anxious, where a lack of assets, high debt, and money challenges are the main contributing factors. This increased stress can be detrimental to your health, especially when you remain in this heightened state for long periods. Along with affecting your mental health, chronic stress has been linked to physical ailments, like high blood pressure, stomach issues, heart palpitations, and muscle pain. In some cases, not being in a financial position to pay for healthcare costs can then add to the financial pressure in addition to your poor health.
By practicing gratitude, studies have shown that you can improve your mood and immunity while decreasing chronic pain, anxiety, and risk of disease. Being thankful, especially when faced with incredible financial challenges, may seem like a superpower, but there are steps you can take to help weave gratitude into your life and improve your financial well-being.
Incorporating mindfulness into the financial side of your life can offer a way for you to become more aware of your spending, help increase satisfaction, and allow you to transition from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance. Reflecting on what you value in life can help you make more confident financial decisions and focus on the long-term benefits of saving, rather than spending for instant gratification. To practice gratitude in your day-to-day life and help improve financial wellness through more mindful spending, try these tips:
Especially in the moments when you’re feeling overwhelmed, taking time to breathe and focus on your situation with optimism can bring a greater sense of peace. Whether you jot down a quick list on a pad of paper or keep an official journal, write down what you find positive about your current financial situation. Is there a money habit that you’ve newly adopted? Did you avoid an impulse buy? Did you find a great deal? This habit helps you acknowledge all the good things that you’re doing and you may likely feel motivated to keep finding new things to add to this list.
When you feel the need to focus on your past financial situation or what you envision for the future, take a second to think about this very moment. If you’re currently in a financial bind, try to not get overwhelmed and fixate on unrelated issues or get distracted. It’s easy to feel overburdened by abstract problems or issues that you can’t fix. Instead, consciously focus on the here and now and be honest with what you can do.
Did you have a big financial challenge that you worked to overcome? Did you find a way out of a difficult situation by moving around your budget or reprioritizing your spending? Celebrating the moments where you made choices that resulted in a positive outcome can build your confidence about making future money decisions and help you feel more empowered about managing your money.
Setting practical goals and holding yourself accountable can be an important step to improving financial wellness. Along with the goal, what are the steps you’re going to take to achieve it? If you want to take a big trip next year, for example, then perhaps you plan to curb eating lunch out or carpooling for several months to help put more money towards this vacation.
Sometimes talking through a financial situation with someone you trust can help put things in perspective. You may also feel a sense of pride by helping others navigate a financial scenario that you have previously worked through. As you take stock of the good things, you may begin to build this way of thinking into your life and can more easily shine the spotlight on the positives.
Just like improving your physical or mental health, achieving financial wellness is a long-term commitment. Along with practicing gratitude and mindful spending daily, you may want to consider setting goals for the next year, three years, and over ten years. Regularly check in on these milestones and whether you need to make adjustments or update timelines. Meeting with a financial professional can also be beneficial to crafting your financial future and accessing the support and guidance to help promote your financial health.
Even if you’re not wired to see the glass half full, changing your mindset can be possible with practice. As the saying goes, “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.” By changing your approach to your finances and appreciating both successes and setbacks, you can create a positive shift that can help you feel more in charge of shaping a secure financial future.