Gratitude is an important element to experience contentment and inner wealth. But does it have a positive impact on our financial wealth?
Apparently, YES it does! And now there is proof.
According to a research study published June 2014 in Psychological Science, when people feel grateful, they make better financial decisions. Being in a state of gratitude made participants more likely to have the patience to save for a higher return on their money.
Best yet, the study demonstrated that gratitude helps people delay gratification and save more money effortlessly – without having to strive for willpower or contemplate the “rule of 72.”
David DeSteno of Northeastern University’s Department of Psychology led the inter-disciplinary research project, entitled “Gratitude: A Tool for Reducing Economic Impatience.” The study’s aim was to weigh how various emotions affected people’s ability to make better financial decisions by choosing to receive a greater amount of money in 30 days versus a lesser amount immediately.
In the study, participants were given a classic test of their ability to delay gratification, not unlike the famous Stanford “Marshmallow Experiment.” The Stanford experiment tested to see if children could wait 15 minutes to receive a second marshmallow (or other goodie) along with the first.
In the Gratitude study, adult participants were given a choice between receiving $54 now or $80 in 30 days. While the dollar figure was modest, the rate of return was impressive – a monthly return of 48%, or, as the Truth Concepts calculator below demonstrates, an annualized return of 577.78%!
The were then directed to spend 5 minutes journaling about something that would lead them to feel either grateful, happy, or neutral before making their decision.
Those who were either happy or neutral were very likely to take the $54 offered instead of wait for the $80, with no significant difference between those in a happy or a neutral state of mind.
However, researchers discovered that those who put themselves in a grateful state of mind had a noteworthy increase of patience and self-control! Not only were the participants in the state of gratitude more likely to wait 30 days to receive the $80, the results also showed that more gratitude the participants reported feeling, the more willing they were to wait for the larger return!
“Be Thankful, Save More… Gratitude Helps us Reach Financial Goals” declared Psychological Science. “A sizable body of research shows that people tend to discount the value of future rewards in favor of short-term gratification, but a new paper… finds that thankfulness triggers patience and a willingness to hold out for greater monetary gain.”