As many Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend, it gave me pause to reflect on how merely expressing appreciation and sharing positivity for life can have profound effects on our well being, health and relationships. People who practice gratitude consistently report a multitude of benefits, including:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism, and happiness;
- Acting with more generosity and compassion;
- Feeling less lonely and isolated
Unfortunately, in our busy and chaotic lives, it can be hard to find time to give gratitude. There are many moments when we may feel stuck and fed up, but taking time to appreciate the good things, and what we are grateful for, can be life-altering.
Life coaches remind us that “gratitude is an attitude”, and the number one predictor of success is gratitude. Research suggests that gratitude boosts morale and productivity in organizations. We spend so much of our time at work, yet people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else.
If being grateful will increase happiness by 25%, then depression, stress, and anxiety can be decreased. This makes for happier employees, but employers who remember to also thank their customers as well as their staff watch their sales increase.
If gratitude improves stress levels, relationships and overall mood, then here are some ways it can be cultivated in the workplace:
- Organizations need to devote time at meetings or provide other opportunities to explicitly thank other members for their work
- Managers in your organization should not wait until there is extraordinary performance from staff to say thank you, but also for doing a good job daily
- Saying “thank you” for your work should come from peers as well as managers
- Dish out compliments on a daily basis
- Make a contribution or volunteer time with your company’s charity of choice, to help people less fortunate than yourself
- Avoid complaining and criticizing – take notice of how your energy is wasted on negative thoughts and feelings and divert it to focusing on better things. You can also share your appreciation of things, such as how nice the journey to work was.
Life coaching is valuable for helping you to see the positives rather than the negatives, and to become more productive and successful in all aspects of life. Coaches can help us to realize what we have, which takes the focus off what we don’t. This can lessen our need for wanting more all the time.
Oprah once said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you focus on what you don’t have, you will never, ever, have enough”. It’s a choice, and one that could determine the quality of your life.
“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Colette, French novelist
Do you take time every day to appreciate your coworkers or boss? What do you do to show them appreciation? I look forward to reading your experiences in the comments below.