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The Amazing Power of Gratitude

How to Be Happy When Life Doesn't Go as Planned

In finance and in life, expectations often eclipse reality.

They become anchors for how we evaluate opportunities (like companies and stocks) and our own sense of happiness.1

They also make us fixate on what could or should have been, not what's right in front of us.1

When reality doesn't line up with our expectations, unhappiness, resentment, and anxiety usually follow.2

These negative feelings can intensify when we sense uncertainty.3 We get anxious about our hopes, goals, and dreams for the future when we feel like everything's unpredictable.4

Yet, it's not impossible to be happy when life throws us a curveball and the future seems uncertain.

How can we find joy when things feel chaotic?

Gratitude.

When we're grateful, we can let go of our expectations. That can lead to greater happiness and life satisfaction, no matter how uncertain the present is—or the future may be.5

How to Be More Grateful & Happier: 6 Questions

1

What is a magical memory you have from the last few months?

We instinctively focus more on the negative than the positive. When times are tough, we expect the worst. To see things in a more positive light, we have to consciously set aside the negativity.6

Recalling happy memories is a quick way to do that. Even remembering a simple act of kindness can make you feel happier.7

 2

How has your perspective changed over the last few months?

Consider the interactions, experiences, or people who have changed the way you think about something recently. Think about what you've learned.

Change and uncertainty can test our strength and character. How we stand up to the challenge may not just change our perspectives. It can also keep us grounded and spark personal growth.8

3

What do you take for granted?

It's natural to take things for granted as we get used to them, even if they matter a lot to us. If we don't take time to appreciate them while we have them, though, we may never get the chance.

Writer Robert Brault may have said it best with this: "Enjoy the little things in life because one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things."

 4

What do you want to remember from this period of your life?

"We do not remember days; we remember moments." These words from Cesare Pavese ring true if you're in your 20s, your 90s, or anywhere in between.

Whether you're starting your career, raising kids, or enjoying retirement, recognize the good moments that are shaping this phase of your life. If you do, you'll enjoy them far more as they're happening.

5

What experiences have you had that you're grateful for?

Some experiences create memories that last a lifetime. Family dinners, vacations, celebrations, major life milestones, and once-in-a-lifetime moments can shape us forever and for the better.9

They can also have positive impacts on the way we learn, see the world, and respond to unknown situations in the future.10

 6

What do you feel lucky to have that some others do not?

This doesn't have to be extravagant. It can be simple, like some treasured part of your day or week.

It can also be unique and intangible, like a relationship you have with a friend, sibling, child, or spouse. In fact, these close relationships are the key to fulfillment and long-term happiness. Appreciating how special they are can help you make them stronger while bringing you more satisfaction.11


SOURCES & DISCLOSURES

1 - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cui-bono/201802/the-psychology-expectations

2 - https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/the-subconscious-mind-of-the-consumer-and-how-to-reach-it

3 - https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/3153298

4 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276319/

5 - https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

6 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3652533/

7 - https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_memories_of_kindness_can_make_you_happy

8 - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201201/personal-growth-four-obstacles-positive-life-change

9 - https://www.princeton.edu/news/2005/03/10/studies-relate-life-experiences-brain-structure

10 - https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/how-experience-changes-basics-memory-formation/

11 - https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

12 - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/future-trends/201808/why-do-we-think-so-much-the-future

13 - https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good

14 - https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/GGSC-JTF_White_Paper-Gratitude-FINAL.pdf

Risk Disclosures: Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results. This material is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information; no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. For illustrative use only. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged composite index considered to be representative of the U.S. stock market in general. All index returns exclude reinvested dividends and interest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. For illustrative purposes only.

Risk Disclosure: Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This material is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information; no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability, or usefulness of any information. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. For illustrative use only.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. These are the views of Finance Insights and not necessarily those of the named representative or firm, and should not be construed as investment advice.