The holiday season is upon us, but before it gets terribly busy, I’d like you to pause for just a moment and think of something good in your life. It can be as small as a delicious cup of hot chocolate or as big as a lifelong friendship.

I’ll give you a minute …

Have you thought of it?

I’m guessing that you’re smiling, that your shoulders have relaxed and that you’re even breathing easier. Doesn’t it feel wonderful?

I know it’s hard to focus on the good things right now. We are living through some tough economic times, where inflation is high, interest rates are rising and markets are at risk.

Money concerns make us feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed, and that affects our mental and physical health. When that happens, we tend to criticize, complain and blame more. Then slowly but surely, we forget the positives and dwell only on the negatives.

Stopping to reflect on the good things, like we did earlier, can help us feel happier and healthier, but how do we train our minds to think more positively?

We adopt an attitude of gratitude. Here’s how.

3 Easy Steps to Grow Your Gratitude Mindset

Step 1: Pause to remember something good in your life. You’ve already accomplished that today!

Step 2: Take a moment to be grateful for it.

It’s good to do for a number of reasons.

The March 2019 monthly newsletter from the National Institute of Health suggests that, “Taking the time to feel gratitude may improve your emotional well-being by helping you cope with stress. Early research suggests that a daily practice of gratitude could affect the body too. For example, one study found that gratitude was linked to fewer signs of heart disease.”

Step 3: Write it down in a gratitude journal.

For me, gratitude journaling takes as little as 15 seconds a day and has helped me achieve a more-fulfilled life. Here are some benefits I’ve noticed:

  • I’m more positive.
  • I’m happier.
  • I’m less stressed.
  • I’m more confident.
  • I’m better rested.

The “rules” of keeping a gratitude journal are very simple:

Every day write down at least two things you’re grateful for, either first thing in the morning or right before bed. (You’re not allowed to write the same thing twice!)

It will probably come easy at first, with family, friends and home at the top of your list. Stick with it every day and you’ll start to think of things you might not have thought of before, such as electricity and heating after a power outage. Sometimes you might even be thankful for something as simple as toilet paper! As your gratitude journal gets filled up, I promise you’ll start to see the physical and emotional benefits.

Gratitude journaling is an easy habit to form, and after a while you’re left with a collection of inspiring material to look back on when you are in need of a pick-me-up.

How Gratitude Can Help Reduce Financial Stress, Too

Practicing having a gratitude attitude will help you through many stresses in life, including financial anxiety.

As you’re thinking about things to include in your gratitude journal, I encourage you to consider adding your financial achievements. Again, they can be small, such as opening a savings account, or big, such as paying off your home. This creates a positive way to think about your money and shows you how little successes can build up to big successes. That can go a long way in helping you feel less stressed about your finances.

Then, with your past victories and future goals in mind, you can use banking tools to help you better think about, organize and manage your money.

For example, online banking helps you:

  • See your transactions
  • Track your expenses
  • Budget
  • Recognize trends
  • Pay bills
  • Set up transfers to your savings account and much more.

The simplicity and ease-of-use, plus knowing that your money is safe, secured and insured, helps reduce financial stress — to the point you might even add banking tools to your gratitude journal!

Some Final Thoughts

As I write this blog, I know what my gratitude journal will say today.

Entry 1: I am grateful to work in an industry and for a company that gives me an opportunity to help individuals, families and businesses achieve their financial goals and dreams.

Entry 2: I am grateful for all of my customers. Building relationships with each person and each business is truly what inspires me to come to work each day.

All of us at Bank of Utah enjoy fulfilling our mission to help customers and communities thrive financially. If you'd like to discuss your financial goals with us, please reach out. We're here for you.

Finally, with Thanksgiving around the corner, let’s all be sure to renew our efforts to live life with an attitude of gratitude. Let’s be thankful and celebrate all of our blessings, gather together with family and friends, and especially find ways to give back to — and be grateful for — others.

Stacey MacKay Stacey MacKay is branch manager for Bank of Utah’s Heber branch. She has worked for the Bank for almost 7 years. Stacey is on the board of the Heber Valley Rotary Club as well as the Cowboy Poetry board. She has 6 married children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 wonderful, supportive husband.