We often hear about the power of gratitude and the incredible impact it can have on our physical and mental health. Focusing on the positives and expressing appreciation for your financial life can improve financial wellness as well. To make the most of this season of thankfulness, here are several ways to practice mindfulness and help give your financial well-being a healthy boost.
Financial wellness is your ability to manage your money effectively, including your bills, expenses, debts, and unexpected emergencies, while also working toward your longer-term financial goals, like saving for a college education or retirement. Typically, a feeling of financial security can go hand in hand with financial wellness while also being prepared for unplanned expenses down the road. Oftentimes, outside forces can affect our financial wellness, whether it’s a job loss, having to care for a family member, or experiencing a health challenge. When these life events happen, it can be difficult to practice gratitude, but practicing gratitude can help you be more decisive in determining a plan of action to help come out on the other side with greater resilience.
For 60% of people in this country, thinking about their finances leaves them feeling anxious; with high debt, money challenges, and a lack of funds being the biggest 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.
Studies have shown that when you practice gratitude, you can help improve your mood and immunity, while decreasing anxiety, chronic pain, and risk of disease. Being thankful, especially when faced with incredible financial challenges may seem impossible, but there are steps you can take to integrate gratitude into your life and help improve your financial well-being.
Being mindful in your financial life can include increased awareness of your spending habits and your overall financial standing. Reflecting on what you value in your financial life can help you make more confident decisions and focus on the long-term benefits of saving, rather than spending. Here are some tips on incorporating gratitude into your life and helping improve financial wellness through more mindful spending:
Being in the moment can sometimes be easier said than done, especially when life is financially difficult at that time. We may be caught thinking about our financial life in the past when times were less problematic, or in the future, when we hope our stress will be less. You can take time to focus and learn from this moment, focusing on the good, thinking of what you can do now, and not getting distracted by the things in your life you can’t control.
In the moments when you’re feeling overwhelmed, taking time to breathe and focus on your situation with optimism can bring a sense of peace. Whether you jot down a quick list on a pad of paper or keep an official journal, you could write down what you find positive about your current financial situation. Did you take advantage of a great deal? Did you adopt a positive money habit? Did you hold off buying an item you may not need? Noting the positives can help you acknowledge the good things that you’re doing and you may likely feel motivated to keep finding new things to add to this list.
Acknowledging your accomplishments can motivate you to better manage your money and continually find things to be grateful for in your daily life. Did you find a solution to a big financial challenge? Did you reprioritize your spending or tighten your budget to accomplish a goal? Give yourself a high five every chance you get and keep finding new reasons to celebrate.
To help improve financial wellness, it can be important to set practical goals and hold yourself accountable for working toward them. Along with listing the objective, what are the steps you’re going to take to achieve it? For example, if you want to purchase a car next year, then perhaps cutting out some expenses, like unused memberships or streaming services can help put additional money towards this goal.
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 positive way of thinking into your life, shining the spotlight on the positives rather than the negatives.
Achieving financial wellness does not happen overnight and can take an ongoing commitment, where you regularly check in and monitor your progress. Along with practicing gratitude and mindful spending daily, you may want to consider setting long-term goals that will happen in the next one to ten years and beyond. You can review your goals regularly to determine if you need to make any changes, update timelines, or delete the ones that no longer apply. As you review your finances and think about your future, it can be helpful to meet with a financial professional to get outside guidance and support as you work toward your goals.
Like most things in life, practice makes perfect. Even if optimism isn’t your normal mindset, you can begin to make positive changes that can help you see the glass as half full. Oftentimes, the more grateful you are, the more things you attract that can bring you gratitude. Both your financial successes and setbacks can offer valuable lessons, so appreciate them equally. As you do, you may likely experience improvements in your financial wellness in turn helping feel more confident about the decisions you make for the future.