Can Saying Thanks More Make You Rich?

If you're even a little bit cynical, you might be expecting a resounding, one-word answer to this question. I mean, since when did being nice ever get you rich?

But there is good news out there for those of us who still like to see the nice guy win once in-awhile. In fact, gratitude has a number of direct impacts on financial well being.

Gratitude Makes You Happy

Gratitude has been shown to make people happier — and happiness is known to have a positive impact on earnings.

In research, groups were asked to keep journals over an extended period, either simply writing down neutrally what had happened to them, or trying to find the positives to be grateful for. At the end of the study, the gratitude group were 25% happier than the neutral group, and reported fewer physical illnesses over the period.

A different study links happiness and earnings, with research which shows that adolescents who report higher levels of happiness go on to earn more as adults. There are probably a wide range of reasons for this — happier people take fewer sick days, build more positive relationships, and are able to focus more on the things that matter to them.

Gratitude Stops Spending

If excessive consumption is your downfall, then try practicing a little gratitude to get back on track.

Instead of lusting after another gadget or handbag, make a conscious effort to appreciate what you have — not only will you rediscover old pleasures, it will most likely slow your urge to spend.

Often the desire to shop comes about because of something known as hedonic adaptation, or the hedonic treadmill. This is the tendency humans have to slip back to an average level of satisfaction very shortly after large improvements or positive life events. So even though you get a massive pay raise, the enjoyment is short-lived, and you soon come to expect the extra salary. Similarly, the new phone you were yearning for is only truly impressive for a few weeks before you forget the novelty and start to think about your next purchase.

Gratitude can help overcome this tendency because it slows down the pace at which we get complacent about what we have — and by cutting out the excesses of spending, our financial wellness gets an immediate boost.

Gratitude Promotes Great Relationships

Relationships flourish with gratitude, and relationships are how business happens. So exercising a bit of gratitude can be a boon to your personal and professional relationships alike, making you happier and wealthier at the same time.

This dynamic in professional environments has already received much scientific and psychological attention. Studies dating back decades have shown that customers come back and tip more if they are thanked for their generosity. In one wonderful example (which I really wish I had come up with myself), restaurant servers handed over the check to diners — either blank, or with a handwritten note saying thank you, including a smiley face. This research showed that those who had written "thank you" on their checks received higher tips.

Because gratitude forges an immediate personal connection, it's a great way of opening the door to a developing relationship. In a work environment, that might be as simple as getting an extra few dollars tip, or it could be the start of something beautiful. You never know.

Gratitude Keeps You Healthy

Science shows you can cut down your medical bills by saying thanks. Seriously.

Don't take my word for it. Professor Robert A. Emmons is the author of a report on the impact of gratitude on health. He says gratitude "can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders, and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide."

Not only all that, but those who are grateful also report having a stronger social network that can support them when they need help, as well as improving blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health.

Gratitude's impact on financial wellness is based on elements of scientific and psychological fact. It may sound far fetched at first, but saying thank you to others, and remembering to be grateful for what you have — rather than yearning for more — could really be the secret to unlocking greater emotional and financial well being.

What do you think? Crazy theories or common sense? How do you practice gratitude in everyday life?

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