Great Savings #26 – The Power Of Gratitude

 

Two thumbs up for this beach.

I have no power to control the weather, but rain or shine I can choose to enjoy the day.

The trouble with pinning all our hopes for a better lifestyle on getting rich is that it pushes us to fantasize about an uncertain future. When our thoughts are future-based, it becomes far too easy to miss all of the “good” happening right here and now.

 

The dream of acquiring vast wealth is often built on a false hope—one that says all our ills can be cured by money alone. Curiously, being rich is no guarantee for happiness. That only comes when we have spent time defining happiness and learn to appreciate what we have. Thus, instead of focusing on a future of fantasy riches, it’s far more useful to make better choices in the moment, plan ahead, take small steps to improve the quality of life today, and above all, remember to be grateful for the things we have right now—not resentful over those we don’t.

 

Acknowledging Gifts Along The Way

 

A roasted turkey is great, but to a person who is hungry it represents tremendous wealth.

Is Thanksgiving the only time you stop to give thanks for what’s good in your life?

Achieving a sense of gratitude comes as we learn to appreciate life’s various gifts in the moment. Learning to be joyful is good. Do we acknowledge our joy? Do we revel in it? Or do we let it slip away unnoticed? Whether we speak of joy, happiness, love, success, or the things we own, it’s important to take the time to understand each of these gifts as we experience them.

 

“I’m so thankful for…”

 

I am thankful for my house.

When you stop to consider what so many people don’t have, there are so many things to be thankful for–like the roof over your head.

A useful practice in learning the art of gratitude is to make a point of offering thanks. And it doesn’t really matter whether you thank God, the universe, your spouse, your boss, your kids or some stranger on the street. The point is to recognize the gift in front of you and acknowledge it with words. Offering daily thanks is an excellent habit to take on, because it forces us to acknowledge all the  the good going on in the moment and that means were not consumed by problems or issues that may come at us down the road. In other words, the practice of gratitude is a way to be more present and grounded in the moment.

 

 

Many people are grateful for their freedom.

If you can’t think of a reason to be grateful, how will you know when you’ve achieved success or wealth?

So what do you have to be thankful for? If you can’t think of anything right off, start with the air you breathe into your lungs. Do you have kids? Thank them for filling your lives with joy or of making you a less selfish person. Have a dog? Thank him or her for being a loyal companion. Own a car? Be thankful you can drive to the store or work.

 

This kitty may not act it, but she's grateful for your love.

If you had to choose between wealth and companionship, which would it be?

Sometimes it’s the things we take for granted that deserve the most appreciation, yet get the least. Friendship, the love from a significant other, a decent job, sufficient food, and good health are all things that can easily be forgotten if we’re focused on problems or things we can’t control. And have you ever considered all those who only dream to have what you can already call your own? To them you’re already wealthy beyond belief.

 

TIp #26 in our series of Great Savings ideas.Being more present is an excellent habit to take on because our focus becomes all the things going on in our immediate sphere of influence. This is often more important than we realize. The things within our sphere of influence are things within our power to change. Is the room dark? We can turn on a light. Hungry? We can cook a meal. Tired? We can crawl in bed. Similarly, the things we can’t control are those residing outside our sphere—for example, whether Congress will vote for a particular bill, whether someone we like will like us back, whether the stocks we buy will all be winners, and so on. Letting go of the things we can’t control in favor of those we can helps us stay focused on the present. And this turns out to be critical if we intend to learn to appreciate the life we have.

 

Gratitude is a surprising concept. Take a moment and consider the following:

 

Learn to appreciate and acknowledge the things you have.

 

I love to play the piano in my spare time.

Are you grateful for the music in your life? There are so many different ways to define wealth. Just imagine a world without music. Wouldn’t it be dull?

Ask yourself this question: How can you ever achieve happiness just by adding more money or wealth if you fail to appreciate and define the wealth you already have in your possession? In other words, if you can’t recognize the wealth you have right now, what makes you think you’ll be able to recognize any success or improvement to your situation down the road?

 

Does this mean we should only focus on the present and ignore the future? Of course, not. It’s important to take steps and plan for the things in life we wish to accomplish. Yet discovering our values and priorities is really more about appreciating what we have right now than it is about fantasizing over certain financial goals we hope to achieve later on. Knowing and appreciating all that we have in the moment is a major key toward building a brighter lifestyle each and every day.

 

There are many ways to define wealth.

I’m grateful for good books and the authors who poured their souls into them.

Action Item: Grab a pen and paper and make a list of 100 items you’re grateful for. Can’t do it? Then try writing down five and each day add five more until your total comes up to 100. Don’t worry that your items may be insignificant or unimportant to others. This is about you. Now post your list in a prominent spot so you remember to look at it from time to time. Let it be a reminder that even when life seems hard or the day’s got you down, there’s still an abundance of good to be found. And really, isn’t being surrounded by abundance the very definition of wealth?

 

Are you following our Great Savings Tip series? For a complete list of all our tips click here.
 

One Response to Great Savings #26 – The Power Of Gratitude

  • Lisa Ryan says:

    Really nice article on all of the benefits of gratitude. I know that my daily gratitude practice of writing down 5 things in the morning I’m grateful for as well as 5 “wins” every night has made a huge difference in my life – on every level.

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