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Knowledge and Gratitude: How Simple, Healthy Habits Can Boost Your Financial Well-Being

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“Even in the worst circumstances, there is always something you are grateful for — gratitude is an amazing antidote to stress.” — Arianna Huffington

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From founding the Huffington Post and writing 15 books to being named one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes and ranked among Time Magazine‘s 100 most influential people, Arianna Huffington’s career has no shortage of accomplishments. Most recently, she founded Thrive Global four years ago and this past January led her team in the launch of Thriving Wallet, a new partnership between Thrive and Discover in an effort to redefine the discussion around financial health and help people reframe their relationship with money by building simple, healthy habits.

During #SMWONE, Huffington joined Discover’s Julie Loeger, and Grey’s John Patroulis to dig deeper into the endeavor and why now more than ever it’s important to focus on financial well-being alongside physical, mental and emotional health.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Knowledge is power
  • Gratitude is an amazing antidote to stress
  • Building mental resilience is key to a prosperous post-pandemic world

The stress and burnout epidemic

The global pandemic has revealed fundamental weaknesses in our society, and according to Huffington, one of the biggest is a world where we’re breathlessly and always on and fail to understand the important truth that financial well-being directly impacts our mental and physical health.

This is not a new concept, rather one that has proliferated for years including an increase in chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, mental health problems including depression and anxiety, and stress and burnout, which the World Health Organization identified as a workplace crisis just last spring. In a time of profound loss, the mental crisis we already face is exacerbated with two-thirds of Americans on average claiming they’ve felt anxious, depressed, lonely or helpless in recent weeks and over half reporting pandemic-induced stress is negatively impacting their sleep, diet, alcohol use, and chronic conditions.

The impact of Thrive Wallet

Ninety-percent of individuals claim financial considerations have an impact on their stress levels. Further, 25 percent wish they could have a fresh start with regards to their finances, even as they claim they’re uncertain where to begin. Enter the solution conceived in Vegas by Loeger and Huffington in Las Vegas a year and a half ago: Thriving Wallet.

Through video, editorial content, and social content consumers can use Thrive Wallet to seek expert advice, hear inspirational personal stories, and gain data-driven insights around building healthier financial habits through Thrive’s signature “Microsteps” and Discover’s tools, resources, and products. Whether understanding the basis of your credit score, your overall financial foundation or gaining tips for building credit or saving for your next experience, Thriving Wallet’s primary goal is to jump-start positive behavior change and reduce stress through simple microsteps.

Microsteps

“There is no better way to get customer loyalty than to add value to their lives,” said Huffington.”Knowledge is power, and it is really important people recognize the connection between general stress and our spending.” The best way to do this? Take the daunting element out of financial advice and allow consumers to build habits that will help them flex this muscle through meaningful content, distributed in a way that’s useful, leveraging a consumer need and that puts actions on the table people can take advantage of in a big way.

For example, setting aside $10 per week to save for something that’s meaningful to you — this small step helps practice mindful, value-driven spending. Scheduling a regular catch-up with a friend is another. For many, a huge obstacle is getting their money worries out of the shadows. Finally, do a simple audit. If you have any loans, log the balance in a tracker to create a sense of ownership over the situation.

Coping with stress

In addressing best practices for coping with stress, Huffington reiterated the theme of awareness as a form of power.

In her first tip, she underscored the necessity for rest. “Sleep is foundational and yet sleep is very hard to come by right now.” During such uncertain times, it can be hard to feel relaxed at night. To help in this regard, she offered the suggestion of powering down your phone and charging it away from your bed to avoid the temptation to scroll at all hours of the night. She also highlighted the benefit of expressing gratitude on a regular basis. “Even in the worst circumstances, there is always something you are grateful for — gratitude is an amazing antidote to stress.”

As simple as it may sound, breathing is yet another core stress reliever. “I love reading about Navy seals — when they’re dealing with stressful circumstances they use box breathing, an exercise where you breathe in for four counts, pause for the count of four, and exhale for four counts.”

The big takeaway: to prepare for a post-pandemic world, taking control of our stress is essential to building mental resilience. This resilience will enable us to bring our best, most focused, most productive selves to the forefront of the challenges of a world vastly different from the one we once knew.

As final words of advice, Loeger shared, “continuously leverage curiosity — seek to understand, but don’t stop there; push it to action,” while Huffington encouraged everyone “not just to survive, but thrive.”

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