Do you wish you were a happier, more cheerful person? Do you long for a better night’s sleep, less stress, and fewer aches and pains? We all want these things for ourselves. But how do we get them? According to this research study, the secret to a healthier, happy life starts with habitual gratitude.

You see, gratitude is magical. It floods your present moment with positive energy. It reduces mental fog and improves job performance. It’s an Aladdin’s lamp for your mind. Rub it and happiness appears right before your very eyes.

How Gratitude Makes You Wealthy

Tell me, which person would you want to be?

Person 1: Has $1,000,000 in the bank but is always angry, alone, and hates her job.

Person 2: Has $10,000 in the bank but has loving relationships with those around her, is always happy, and is emotionally and spiritually rich.

Wouldn’t you choose Person 2? Don’t get me wrong, a million dollars is nice. But wealth isn’t defined by a dollar amount in your bank account. Your money means nothing if you don’t have peace and joy in your life.

“To enjoy just the simple life is to be wealthy beyond words.”

A friend recently sent me that quote in an email. And to be honest, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head because it so easily fits with my 8th Pillar of Happiness—Gratitude. (You can read about the other 7 Pillars of Happiness in my book Mindful Money: Simple Practices for Reaching Your Financial Goals and Increasing Your Happiness Dividend.)

You see, if I can remember to be grateful for simple things—my comfy pillow, fresh air, clean water, or a loved one who just entered the room—am I not, at that moment, wealthy beyond words?

I’m not saying you have to choose between money or happiness. You’re not confined to one type of wealth. The cool thing about gratitude is that it leads to both types of wealth—more happiness and more money.

2 Powerful Ways Gratitude Increases Your Happiness

1. It Makes You Appreciate Life’s Current Blessings

When you recognize one blessing, it becomes easier to recognize others—this is how gratitude compounds. The more you notice and are grateful for the big things, the easier it is to notice and appreciate the little things. And the more you notice and appreciate the little things, the easier it is to notice and be grateful for the very little things.  

2. It Makes You Content With What You Have

You experience true happiness when you no longer crave the next new thing—when you’re totally content with what you have. When you’re in a state of constantly wanting more, your mind doesn’t rest until you get what you want. Gratitude is the only way to break this cycle of discontent. Be actively grateful for what you have. Be grateful for who you are. It’ll make you happier.

Stop reading and think of something in your life that’s worthy of being appreciated. Spend a minute on it. Do you feel the joy creeping in? It’s hard not to smile when you think of something you’re grateful for.

2 Powerful Ways Gratitude Leads To Financial Freedom

1. It Quiets The Chaos Of Consumerism

Picture this: You want a jet ski. You do some research on it. Everyone in the jet ski ad looks so happy. You envision what your life will be like when you have your own jet ski. “Pure bliss,” you tell yourself. You finally fork over the cash and buy the jet ski. You’re excited for a few weeks—maybe even a few months—but the newness wears off and you find yourself wanting something else. And now you have to store a jet ski.

It’s an endless cycle—you want something, you buy it, your expectations aren’t met, you move on to the next thing… and the next.  It’s chaos (and it prevents you from ever reaching financial freedom).

Break the cycle of consumerism by being grateful for what you already have. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself if you already have something similar at home. If the answer is no, ask yourself if the item will help or hurt you on your journey to financial freedom – does the purchase come with an opportunity cost? If the purchase doesn’t bring you one step closer to one of your plan goals, don’t buy it.

2. It Shifts Your Focus To Your Long-Term Goals

When you practice habitual gratitude—and you’re content with who you are and what you have as a result—it’s much easier to focus on your long-term goals. It’s easier because it is YOUR voice in your head that says you need bigger and better things right now to have a better life. The more you focus that internal voice on the things you are already grateful for, the less that internal voice wants the bigger better things. Gratitude changes that internal voice.

Gratitude gives you the energy, determination, and motivation you need to stick to your financial plan. When life presents you with trade-offs—like buying a jet-ski or saving for retirement—it’s much easier to make the right decision when you know the plan and are emotionally fired up about your plan goals. When you’re guided by gratitude, you make decisions rooted in what really matters, rather than the emotion in the moment.Being ungrateful is just one example of how your mindset can keep you from financial independence. If you want to dive in deep and unlock the secrets to true wealth and happiness, grab a copy of my book Mindful Money: Simple Practices for Reaching Your Financial Goals and Increasing Your Happiness Dividend. It’s jam-packed with worksheets and exercises to help you create a DIY made-just-for-you financial plan that catapults you to financial freedom.