Got gratitude? If you answered yes, chances are you also have more money in savings than your impatient counterparts.
That’s the finding of a new study by academics from Harvard, Northeastern University and the University of California at Riverside. “Gratitude: A Tool for Reducing Economic Impatience” will be featured in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science.
The basic premise of the study is that impatience has destructive economic implications, while feelings of gratitude can significantly reduce financial impatience.
But what makes one investor patient and another impatient? The old school answer was willpower. But researchers were flummoxed when trying to explain why one investor had it and another didn’t. Now, new research from a team of academics … says it has found the key: Gratitude.
The study went a little something like this: Seventy-five individuals were asked to write about a personal experience that generated emotions (happy, neutral and gratitude), then they were asked to make an economic choice. This is what happened, according to CBS:
Participants were then presented with 27 economic choices which boiled down to receiving $11 to $80 immediately, or getting a larger amount at some point in the future. Where the happy and neutral individuals favored getting the payment today, the grateful investors were willing to wait longer to get more.
So next time you are struggling to pass up a good sale at your favorite retailer or chasing last year’s hot funds, take a step back and try to think about or meditate about something that makes you feel grateful. It may provide you with the strength you need to quit spending today what you need to save for tomorrow.
“Showing that emotion can foster self-control and discovering a way to reduce impatience with a simple gratitude exercise opens up tremendous possibilities for reducing a wide range of societal ills from impulse buying and insufficient saving to obesity and smoking,” says assistant professor Ye Li from the University of California, Riverside School of Business Administration.
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