The Science Behind Gratitude and How it Can Benefit Your Finances

The science behind gratitude is pretty compelling. Studies have shown that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of life satisfaction, stronger relationships, and lower levels of stress. Gratitude has also been linked with better sleep quality, lower blood pressure, and improved immune function. But did you know gratitude can also benefit your personal finances and how you mange money?

But first, let’s break down the basics.

The science behind gratitude

The brain is hardwired to focus on negative events. This evolutionary adaptation helped our ancestors survive by noticing potential threats and dangers. However, this tendency can lead to stress and anxiety in today’s world.

One way to counterbalance the brain’s negativity bias is to practice gratitude. By taking time to notice and appreciate the good things in our lives, we can train our brains to focus on the positive.

We often think of practicing gratitude as something we should only express when we receive a big favor or a generous gift. However, gratitude is much more than just saying “thank you” for what we receive. By being consistent,

Gratitude works by priming our brains to notice the positive things in our lives. When we are grateful for the good things that have happened to us, we are more likely to notice and appreciate the good things that happen in the future. Gratitude also helps us to hold onto the positive experiences we have had for longer, which can lead to increased happiness and satisfaction with life.

The science of gratitude and the physiological impact of practicing gratitude on the brain

When you’re feeling gratitude, your brain is actually hardwired to focus on the positive. That’s because gratitude activates the brain’s “pleasure centers,” which release feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.

But gratitude does more than just make you feel good at the moment. It also changes your brain chemistry in lasting ways.

Studies have shown that gratitude can actually change the structure of the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for stress management. This means that gratitude can help you cope with stress more effectively.

Gratitude and your immune system

Gratitude has also been shown to increase levels of white blood cells, which fight off infection. It also increases levels of antibodies, which help protect against the common cold and other illnesses.

Two women are sitting with their backs to the camera as they look at a sunset over trees and a city skyline. Overlaid words read, "How Stress Impacts Spending, Saving & Investing." Read button links to the article How Stress Impacts Spending, Saving & Investing.

Practicing gratitude to improve the way you manage money

The science behind gratitude is pretty interesting. Gratitude has been shown to improve how you manage money. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that gratitude was associated with greater thriftiness. The study found that participants who wrote about things they were grateful for were more likely to save money over a period of time than those who didn’t. Talk about a game-changer for your spending habits.

Studies have also shown that gratitude can reduce financial stress and decrease the likelihood of impulse shopping. They have also shown that gratitude can lead to better financial decision-making and even improve credit scores.

The science behind gratitude and improving your financial decision making

Because gratitude rewires your brain so that you’re more likely to focus on the positive aspects of your life, this means that you’re less likely to dwell on money troubles.

Because of this, gratitude has been shown to increase levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy, which can lead to better decision-making when it comes to money. This makes you feel good about yourself and your abilities, so you’re more likely to make choices in your best interest. Gratitude can help you become a savvier, more confident investor and can even lead to better financial planning overall.

So, if you’re looking to improve your financial situation, being grateful may be a good place to start. And, who knows, maybe gratitude will lead to other positive life changes as well.


Consistency is key when you practice gratitude

You need to practice it regularly. Gratitude is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. But if you only exercise your gratitude muscle once in a while, it won’t have much of an impact. (pro-tip: try habit-stacking.)

So how can you make sure you’re practicing gratitude regularly?

Incorporating gratitude into your life – Here are 9 easy ways:

Image of the app's mindset check-in intended to get the user to look deeper at the "why" behind what they do. The text at the top reads Daily Check-in Understand the why to feel better about your money. The on-screen text reads Anything to add to the why? Followed by user text expressing issue with holiday hours at their job.
Use the money app to schedule worry time, improve your relationship with money, journal and practice mindfulness daily.

1. Keep a gratitude journal.

Every night, write down three things you’re grateful for. This can be big or small, from your spouse to your morning coffee.

2. Write a gratitude letter.

Pick someone who has made a positive impact on your life, and express your appreciation in a handwritten letter.

3. Show gratitude to your loved ones.

Take the time to really thank your partner, family, and friends for their support.

4. Express gratitude at work.

A simple “thank you” can go a long way with your co-workers.

5. Pay it forward.

Do something nice for someone else, with no expectation of anything in return.

6. Volunteer your time.

Giving back to your community is a great way to feel gratitude.

7. Say grace.

Whether you’re religious or not, taking a moment to be thankful before meals can help shift your focus to the positive.

8. Don’t take things for granted.

From your bed to your car, take a moment each day to appreciate the things you have.

9. Be mindful of the present.

Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, focus on the present moment and all that you’re grateful for in it.

Giving gratitude a go

It has been scientifically proven that gratitude has a whole host of benefits. For instance, gratitude can help improve your mental and physical health, boost your immune system, increase your overall well-being, and even make you happier.

So why not give gratitude a try? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Related Reads:

How Tracking Your Money Can Reduce Stress and Save Money

How to Practice Money Mindfulness with Expense Tracking

Managing Stress and Money

How Stress Impacts Spending, Saving, and Investing Habits and What to Do About It

Defining Your Relationship with Money

How to Reduce Money Anxiety

How to Practice Financial Gratitude


Get it on Google Play button links to At Work on the Google store on android.
Get it on Apple Store button links to At Work on the Apple Store.
More Stories
Nav.igating Financial Resilience, Empowered Early
%d bloggers like this: