Ahhh 2020 – what a year! If you're like most people, January 2020 didn't go quite as you expected. Dozens of millions of people (or more) are either physically, emotionally, or financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while various programs have been offered by federal, state and local governments as well as private companies, there is no doubt that many people's finances have taken a hit this year.
READ MORE: How to Protect Your Finances During Troubled Times
With the end of 2020 (finally!), However, it is time to take a look back and count your blessings. Here are some reasons why, no matter how 2020 went for you, you should consider saying thank you for some of your financial blessings in 2020.
# 1 Gratitude can improve your relationships with others
Have you ever been with someone who always seemed to be in a good mood? Whenever I've been with someone like this, I've found that their cheerful demeanor has affected me. Likewise, being with someone who projects a negative attitude can decrease your own happiness.
Being grateful and positive for the things in your life can also improve your relationships with your friends, family, and others around you. If there is someone who has helped you financially, be it financially, through good advice, or by being there at the right time, take the time to write them a thank you letter and let them know what it means to you. Another idea is to explore ways in which you can give back to others and improve someone else's life.
Gratitude makes you more resilient
If 2020 has taught us anything, it has taught us the value and importance of resilience. I'm sure I'm not the only one who hasn't seen all of the madness that has gone on over the past 12 months when we were making our New Year's resolutions in January. Gratitude for the things you have in your life makes you more resilient and less prone to the negative effects of future change. Resilience can also help you financially prepare for the post-pandemic world.
# 3 More general satisfaction with life
A study by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough showed that conscious gratitude for one's own blessings has a positive effect on general satisfaction with life. The study found that respondents who showed gratitude on a regular basis had fewer physical illness symptoms, improved amount and quality of sleep, and were more likely to have helped others. While you may not have experienced all of the financial blessings you were hoping for in 2020, taking stock of the blessings you received can have a positive impact on your life.
# 4 Gratitude makes you more productive
Choosing to be grateful can also have a positive impact on your overall productivity. Research has shown that:
Managers who were grateful to their employees achieved 50 percent higher productivity
When you express gratitude to your partner, the more likely they will feel positive towards you
Gratitude helps build stronger romantic relationships and makes us happier and healthier
Gratitude can help avoid the natural tendency towards instant gratification
How to show gratitude even in difficult financial times
All of these reasons why you should say thank you are good. But what can you do when you are in tough financial times? It's all well and good to say to buck up because "other people are worse off," but that doesn't make things any better. One way to deal with a difficult financial situation is to Focus on the things you can control. There can be many areas of your life and financial situation that are not going the way you imagined, but rather are due to factors beyond your control.
Focusing (and being grateful for) the financial blessings can have a huge impact on your overall quality of life. If your finances have been impacted by unexpected job loss or changes in your financial situation, consider creating an emergency budget. Having more control over your finances can lead to less stress and an improved quality of life. Gratitude can help focus your focus on what you have instead of what you may be missing.
Dan Miller (42 posts)
Dan Miller is a freelance writer and founder of PointsWithACrew.com, a website that helps families travel for free / cheap. His home base is in Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and 6 children.