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Madonna may have nailed it when she claimed that we’re living in a material world, but that doesn’t necessarily make our lives any more joyful. However, this knowledge hasn’t stopped us from pursuing more possessions, so new research is here to offer an antidote: If you want to be rich, you’re also going to have to be grateful.
A new study out of Baylor University found that the negative effects of materialism — prioritizing the acquirement of possessions — may be offset with a little thankfulness.
Researchers sent a questionnaire to nearly 250 college students and found that those who link happiness with material gain were less satisfied with their lives, but practicing gratitude seemed to buffer those emotions. The results also suggest that the good nature of gratitude helps reduce the self-indulgent nature of materialism.
“Individuals high in gratitude showed less of a relationship between materialism and negative affect,” the study authors wrote. “Additionally, individuals high in materialism showed decreased life satisfaction when either gratitude or positive affect was low.”
We like to think this is a general score for the gratitude lovers, since the results found that people who express thankfulness felt happier with their lives. Gratitude has also been shown to help individuals sleep better, boost psychological well-being and improve your relationships.
We know money can’t buy us happiness, but apparently with a little gratitude, it can buy us a tad more life satisfaction.
The findings were published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.