This past year has been a test for many of us. At times it’s been hard to find the good and express gratitude toward it. Although, I would imagine if each of us took a moment to reflect on 2020 as a whole, we could identify one if not many things to be grateful for. Gratitude is a gift, if we allow ourselves to stop, examine our lives and express gratitude toward the good, good things happen. As we bring in the new year, I encourage each of you to make one resolution, a promise to yourself to be grateful, every day.
So, What Are Some Ways We Can Practice Gratitude?
Write it dowN
A great way to document gratitude is by creating a gratitude journal, a place to write down and reflect on what you’re grateful for. Each morning—or night—write down three people or things you are grateful for and why. This small step can contribute toward a positive mindset, helping you press on and calm your mind when things go awry.
Remember the saying, "It is better to give than to receive"? Whoever coined the term certainly knew the joy that comes from doing good deeds: cooking a meal for someone, or even baking a loaf of bread; shoveling a neighbor's walk; running errands for someone unable to do it themselves, or just listening to someone's problems.
Giving money to charitable organizations is another way to express gratitude. Even if you’re short on cash, look for other ways to help out such as volunteering or donating unused or unwanted items. Gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving, not only will you reap the rewards, but your community and society will also benefit. Don’t forget to document how fortunate you are to make a positive difference in your community in your gratitude journal!
Financial gratitude all too often takes a back seat and yet, being financially fit empowers us to be of service to ourselves and others.
Here Are Some Ways to Cultivate Financial Gratitude:
Save for retirement:
Sign up for automatic deductions from your paycheck, start small—with, say, a $100 monthly contribution. Chances are, you won’t even miss it! Later, perhaps during your company’s next open enrollment period, increase the deduction to $110, etc.
Set goals, and save for them:
Want to buy a new car, or take a trip? Transfer money from your checking into savings account or mutual fund monthly into a separate account and identify an end date for when you need the money. Or—and I'm not kidding here—save $5 or $10 per day in a jar. Label the jar with the name of the item you want, and how much you want to save. Add to the jar daily, and see how quickly it adds up!
Remember though, as flight attendants say “put on your oxygen mask before helping others” we have to be mindful that in order to share the gift of gratitude with others, we need to be on solid ground ourselves.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget to stop and take the time to experience the beauty that life presents us. Gratitude can be a game-changer and studies have shown that the presence of gratitude can benefit our health and happiness by contributing to:
- More restful sleep
- Better eating habits
- Decreased level of depression
- Improved relationships
- Increased calm in the face of adversity
- Better self-care
- Greater happiness
So, as we ring in the new year, I encourage each of you to reflect on what you’re grateful for and remember the importance of acknowledging the small joys in life; the smile of a loved one, the wag of a dog's tail, the sun shining through a window, or the laughter of a child. Stopping to smell the roses can sweeten our lives in countless ways and, in turn, make the world a better place for all. If we all practiced gratitude every day, imagine what could happen!
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.
Investing in mutual funds involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Fund value will fluctuate with market conditions and it may not achieve its investment objective.