Financial and Other Benefits of 'Thanks-Givers'

Joel Litman

Joel's note: Altimetry is closed Thursday and Friday in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. So, look for the next Altimetry Daily Authority on Monday, November 29. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday.

The real meaning of Thanksgiving is widely shared...

The turkeys are being brined, and the potatoes and pies are being prepared for a big, festive family dinner for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

The colonial pilgrims originally created this holiday to celebrate and give thanks for the past year's harvest.

This doesn't mean Americans are the only ones who benefit, though.

All over the world, people celebrate different variations of the same idea of having and giving thanks.

From Canada, to Germany, Japan, and Liberia, people take time during the year to celebrate with friends and family to acknowledge their appreciation for each other and the lives we are blessed to live.

The entire idea of giving thanks relates to gratitude. One has appreciation, then gives thanks. Being a thanks-giver requires being a thanks-haver. 

It's quite a powerful state of mind.

Research shows that making decisions when angry or frustrated can lead to negative outcomes, even when getting enough sleep.

Negative, angry, or exhausted states of mind can make for unnecessarily troubled relationships and losing investment decisions. 

We are fortunate to overcome poor decision-making by using the power of gratitude.

The jury is in... A state of gratitude creates powerfully positive decision skills... 

One University of Kentucky study found that people who scored higher on tests of gratitude were less likely to hold grudges and more likely to be compassionate toward others.

Angry, frustrated, and even passive-aggressive states of mind lead to poor decision-making, at home, at work, and certainly when investing. 

In other words, being thankful in our everyday life leads to less anger and frustration with our families and co-workers and, yes, that includes the management of our funds and finances.

Gratitude can also make people happier and help them live better lives...

Not only does gratitude help us avoid anger and frustration. It also can help us be happier and live more fulfilling lives.

I was struck by a powerful research summary on the positive impact of gratitude and giving thanks.

The study led by University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Martin Seligman tested different methods to improve people's mood on 400 people. One of the tasks included writing and delivering letters of thanks or kindness to people they felt deserved gratitude.

Seligman and other researchers found that the thankful participants experienced more increases in overall happiness than any other type of intervention they studied.

Small things like thanking the chef at your favorite restaurant or a co-worker who helped you on a project can go a long way toward improving your health and happiness!

Give thanks before bed...

Another study from the academic journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being found that practicing gratitude can be one of the most effective ways to improve sleep quality.

The experiment saw subjects in the test group write about things they were grateful for in a journal for 15 minutes every night before bed.

Its results showed that those who wrote about gratitude saw a statistically significant improvement in the time and quality of their sleep versus the control group. 

If it isn't obvious already, having gratitude and showing thanks toward others can improve our health.

Gratitude leads to better sleep, less anger, and a general state of happiness that translates into far better decision-making and better investing outcomes.

Meanwhile, mental states of wanting often lead to decisions driven by negative emotions and create suboptimal outcomes in everything.

One could say there is a very close analogy between the power of gratitude and the power of forgiveness: When there is forgiveness, it is often the forgiver who benefits most.

So it is with being a "thanker" or a "thanks-giver." While those being thanked certainly benefit, those giving the thanks can achieve some amazing personal rewards.

From the bottom of my heart, I truly appreciate you for allowing me to share some personal insights for being a better investor and living a better life.

I wish you and your families all love, joy, and peace this Thanksgiving.

All the best,

Joel
November 24, 2021