August 2013 Blog - Want more time and money? Program your brain by giving both away. : Peace in the Puzzle

August 2013 Blog - Want more time and money? Program your brain by giving both away.

by Susan Myhre Hayes on 07/30/13

Want more time and money? Program your brain by giving both away.

A part of my journey of self-transformation included getting my financial house in order. I used two tools to accomplish this:  the magic of an Excel spreadsheet and affirmations.  Research supports why this worked for me.

At the end of each month, I track my investments and my debts.  Shining a monthly light on each of these has made the former grow and the later shrink.  I feel much more in control of my finances, and I feel much better about my financial future.

But, one important part of the spreadsheet is a donations section.  And, recent research from Michael Norton, an associate professor of marketing at Harvard Business School, reinforces the importance of this part of my monthly financial routine when it comes to my good feelings about my finances. 

Study after study has indicated that more money doesn't necessarily make you happy, but Norton’s research indicates that giving away money is likely to make you feel wealthier. Giving money away increases what Norton calls feelings of "subjective wealth” or how well-off you feel.  

"We suggest that acts of generosity can also signal wealth to the givers themselves, making them feel subjectively wealthier even as money leaves their pockets," he and his colleagues wrote.  Since our brains know that wealthy people give away money, when we give money away, it makes our brains perceive that we are wealthy.  The Norton study posits that giving away $500 has the same effect on feelings of “subjective wealth” as earning an extra $10,000 in income.

The second tool in my financial journey was use of the affirmation, “I have more than enough money to do all the things I want and need to do.”  This study seems to support the idea that the mere act of giving money away, indicates that you have more than enough of money.  Givers seem to feel more control over their money.

In related research, Norton found that people, who volunteer their time for charitable pursuits, perceive that they have more time than those who don't volunteer. As with money, your brain may think that if you have time to give away, you must have plenty of it.  As a young, working mother, the affirmation, “I have more than enough time to do the things I want and need to do,” programmed my brain to KNOW I had “more than enough time.”

So, if you want more time and money, begin now to program your brain by giving both away. 

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Susan Myhre Hayes
Susan is passionate aobut each of us becoming out best self no matter what our challenges.  
In her engaging and blog, Best Self, she continues the conversation about self-transformation and intentional change begun in her book.