How Gratitude Leads to More Money
1. Redefine Wealth
While your bank account may have you believing you'll never be "rich," numbers aren't the only way to measure well-being. Our health, friendships, ambition, and even access to technology are all invaluable assets that support a bountiful life. Says author and economist Julie Ann Cairns, "I don't talk about wealth—I prefer to use the word abundance. That, to me, is so much bigger than money. It's a way of being in the world that says 'I am not afraid, and it's okay for me to be generous.'" And try not to get hung up on the R word: Instead, think of your life as prosperous or fulfilled.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Gratitude could lead to fewer of the impulse buys that take a bite out of our bank accounts. In a 2016 poll, 54 percent of Americans said they've spent $100 or more on a whim; another 20 percent said they've spent at least $1,000 impulsively.
Photo: Stuart Tyson/Studio D.
DeSteno found that those who practiced gratitude frequently (say, three or four times a week) "showed the best ability to be financially patient." Make a habit of jotting down a few notes in a gratitude journal and expressing appreciation to your friends and family regularly.
About half of Americans equate being rich to having an annual household income of over $200,000, according to a 2014 survey.
You feel thankful when you help someone else. Life and business strategist Tony Robbins once told me, "Giving teaches your brain there's more than enough." Assisting the less fortunate can be a profound way to remind yourself of your true wealth.
Money can buy happiness—if you spend it on someone else. A small 2008 study found that giving even $5 can lead to an uptick in your emotional well-being.
Photo: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
As entertaining as social media can be, it may also breed discontent. As author Ellen Rogin says, "It's easy to see what others are doing and desire what they have." Cairns advises unfollowing friends whose posts always leave you doubting your worth. And remember that many of the images we're ogling, with their flattering filters and artful cropping, don't depict the truth of people's lives.
Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert and author of When She Makes More, hosts CNBC's Follow the Leader and the podcast So Money.