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Financial Wellness

How to Maintain an Attitude of Gratitude After the Holidays

What is Cyber Monday? Probably most of us know by now that the Monday after Thanksgiving has been coined Cyber Monday, because it has the most online sales of the entire year. I find it extremely ironic that Thanksgiving, a holiday that preaches gratitude and thanks, is immediately followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These two holidays are the nemesis of Thanksgiving, promoting greed, ingratitude, and self-serving behavior. But why is constantly wanting things for ourselves even considered greedy and inappropriate in our consumer-based society? To fully understand that, we’ll have to look at what an attitude of gratitude vs an attitude of selfishness does to our psyche and why selfishness only leads to temporary happiness.

Attitude of Gratitude

Thankfulness isn’t usually a character quality that comes automatically to us. When we were kids (and even as adults!) we would whine and complain about things until our parents would tell us to be grateful. It turns out that they were right! Expressing gratitude isn’t just nicer for other people to hear, it’s also extremely beneficial for us physically and psychologically.

Pleased young man keeps hands on chest near heart showing attitude of gratitude.
Expressing Gratitude Is Extremely Beneficial For Physical And Psychologically (Image Source: Shutterstock)

If you want to maximize the health benefits of gratitude, you must consciously practice gratitude and pay attention to how it makes you feel. If you take note of it, you can see unlimited benefits in better sleep, lower blood pressure, and less physical pain. It also results in lower inflammation levels.

Thankfulness also has a huge impact on our psychological health. Taking a few minutes each day to meditate on what we’re grateful for has been shown to increase positive moods by twenty percent. Even journaling just once a week has been shown to lower depression. People that are more grateful also tend to give back more, create more opportunities in their communities, and promote positive communication.

Black Friday

Thankfulness may be a quality that we have to develop, but selfishness seems to come naturally to us. That’s why it’s unfortunate that Black Friday comes after Thanksgiving, making it easy for us to forget how thankful we should be for everything we already have. On Black Friday, we suddenly remember all of the clothes and tech gadgets we want, and while buying them may bring us joy, these feelings are usually short-lived.

Woman in protective black medical mask on her face with shopping bags in the mall.
Long-Lasting Happiness Occurs When You Choose To Be Happy With Whatever You Have (Image Source: Shutterstock)

New things are always coming out, and we often feel like we need to buy them to keep up with our neighbors and friends. This creates a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction and leaves us in a constant pursuit of happiness only to be disappointed. Materialism is, unfortunately, one of the reasons depression and anxiety are so prevalent in our consumer-based society.

True, long-lasting happiness occurs when you choose to be happy with whatever you have. When you are thankful, you stop comparing yourself to others and free yourself from feelings of discontentment. This doesn’t mean that you can’t buy things for yourself or appreciate new items. There is nothing wrong with showing yourself some self-care and self-love or by trying to save yourself money when you shop. However, buying yourself something because you’re ungrateful isn’t showing yourself love. You may want to consider downloading money saving apps instead of feeding your frenzy. After all, how is a materialistic attitude self-love when it results in so much depression and anxiety?

If you want to make your Black Friday a more grateful experience, consider going with friends or family and focus the majority of your shopping spree on buying gifts for each other rather than for yourself. It might be easier to do most of your shopping on Cyber Monday instead as well, to avoid other obsessive shoppers that may not bring out the best in us.

What is Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is an exclusively online shopping experience. It began after retailers noticed a huge increase in online sales the Monday after every Thanksgiving. Shop.org dubbed the trend Cyber Monday in an effort to bring in even more sales and help online stores compete with Black Friday. In a world where convenience is number one, it’s no surprise that Cyber Monday now exceeds Black Friday as the biggest shopping day of the year. In 2019, 9.2 billion dollars in sales were made on Cyber Monday alone.

Cyber Monday has great sales for anything retail—fashion, electronics, home goods, toys, etc. With so many great deals, it can be easy to get caught up in a materialistic attitude. To make it less about yourself, come up with ideas for holidays gifts. Think about things your friends and family would like and how you can show your gratitude and appreciation for them. One thing that’s great about online shopping is that you can avoid the long lines and aggressive shoppers.

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday don’t have to bring out the worst in us if we keep our focus on buying things for those we care about and don’t allow ourselves to be provoked by other rude, self-centered shoppers. In general, it might be easier to keep our holiday cheer by avoiding the lines and just shopping online.

lady holding credit card and using laptop, ordering goods and purchases via internet.
Many Stores Will Offer Special Promotional Deals There That They Don’t Offer Anywhere Else (Image Source: Shutterstock)

If you decide not to go to a mall, how can you discover the best online deals? It’s easy to find deals on Black Friday, because you’re simply window shopping. To find out what will be on sale on Cyber Monday, though, it’s recommended you check out Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram beforehand. On Twitter, use the search engine and type #CyberMonday to find generic deals, or include the specific product you want in the hashtag. On Facebook, the easiest way to find deals is to check the Facebook pages of your favorite stores. Many stores will offer special promotional deals there that they don’t offer anywhere else. When searching for deals on Instagram, combine both of these methods for the best results.

You might not know this either, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also different in that they both specialize in different types of deals. For example, Black Friday generally has the best deals on household appliances, Apple products, and shoes. Cyber Monday, on the other hand, is better for Android smartphones and Windows laptops, travel deals, beauty products, and clothing. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your holiday sale weekend, shop with an attitude of gratitude and do your research on sale prices beforehand!

Giving Tuesday

If you’re uncomfortable with all the consumerism after Thanksgiving now that I’ve pointed it out, you’re not alone! A group of New Yorkers felt the same exact way and decided to come up with a new holiday after Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday. The first Giving Tuesday was in 2012 and encouraged people to give money to charities instead of spending it on themselves. Its timing couldn’t be more perfect, because consumers need an opportunity to show themselves they’re still good people after they’ve been so materialistic. This process of Thanksgiving to Black Friday, to Cyber Monday, to Giving Tuesday is described by researchers as a need for “moral balancing” and unfortunately feeds into the consumer culture. You see, when we’ve done “enough” good, we usually find an excuse to be greedy until we feel guilty and need to do more good.

Still, Giving Tuesday can and should be a great opportunity! When people are able to give and help others, they often become more grateful themselves. According to research, gratitude inspires generosity, and vice versa. The more generous you are, the more grateful you are, and the more you will continually want to help other people so that they too can feel happiness.

Gratitude vs Materialism

We already know that gratitude results in long-lasting happiness, whereas materialism results in a vicious cycle of greed, short-lived happiness, and discontentment. What is it about gratitude and generosity that makes us so happy?

The Amazing Effects of Gratitude – BrainCraft

Feeling gratitude improves our psychological health by changing our priorities and reducing our toxic emotions. Without gratitude, people are driven by envy and discontentment and spend too much time and energy trying to satisfy those cravings. Of course you never can, and are left feeling unsettled and unsatisfied. Materialism is often used as a bandaid for our inner problems. If you look to external things to save you from your unhappiness, you are only making the problem within yourself worse.

No matter your present circumstances, we can all learn gratitude. Gratitude is the key to being happy for those around you, not resentful. It also helps you be content and happy even if you’re going through a rough patch. The same applies during the holiday season. Don’t forget the gratitude you expressed on Thanksgiving after all of the holiday consumerism is in the past.

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