The attitude of gratitude. Maybe you’ve heard the principle before.
So what has that got to do with your money, you may ask? Being grateful for what you’ve got really can be one of the most powerful things you can do.
It might sound like an inappropriate “first world solution” to someone drowning in debt, someone just coming to terms with being laid off after 30 years at a company, or someone experiencing a monthly struggle to pay the utility bills.
You could say that these are real-world situations and simply feeling grateful doesn’t put money in your pocket. Give me cold-hard cash any day.
Yet there has been plenty of scientific research to show that gratitude is a very powerful tool in supporting a happier life. Amongst the studies is one out of Baylor University which set out to look at the relationship between materialism and life satisfaction. For the study researchers sent out a questionnaire to around 250 college students and discovered that those who associate happiness with material gain were less satisfied with their lives. However, those that applied the principle of gratitude seemed to be more resilient.
We all have battles, big and small. Many of us have crushing financial ones, many of us struggle to be who we want to be, many of us are in love with the wrong person, and many of us seem to spend more time in hospital than outside of it. The list goes on.
Certain facts can’t be denied. It just depends on how you want to contextualize them in relation to your broader life.
The main point here is you’re still in the game. You are still in a space that you can change what needs to be changed. From a finances perspective, it could mean going out of your way to cut every cost feasibly possible, to allocate your resources in a more efficient way, or to work harder and longer at work.
Yes, it may be tough and it may be scary, and it’s easier to be the observer than to be the observed (“It’s easy for you to say…”). But you’re still in a position to deal with the issues you need to address, and for that it’s worth being thankful.
Importantly, it’s also worth being grateful for all those things you do have. For example, you may not have enough money to go on holiday but maybe you’ve got friends and family that love you. You may be one bill away from bankruptcy but you may also have found a life purpose that inspires you to jump out of bed in the morning.
If life’s kicking you when you’re already down it can be hard to muster those reasons for gratitude. Life doesn’t seem fair. It’s not easy. That tunnel ahead of you is long and dark. But you are bigger than your circumstances. If you are able to find things to be thankful for you might surprise yourself.
It’s still important to get an understanding of the tips, strategies and mechanics behind your personal finance, at the very least so that you can get to grips with the day-to-day management of your money. But even if your finances are in an unhealthy state it shouldn’t only be about money. For one thing, money doesn’t always solve money problems. Your mindset and outlook remain so important in developing a healthy relationship with your finances and understanding how money fits into your life.
So look at what’s going right in your life and try to embrace gratitude. It will give you a reason for hope and sometimes hope is all you need.