STOP. What are you grateful for? For the next minute, stop and ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” What came up? Could you come up with two things? Three? More?
This month tends to be a month full of showing and giving thanks. However, research shows that showing gratitude daily has many benefits.
Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful or the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. The Greater Good, Science-Based Insights for a Meaningful Life states that although studies of gratitude at work are still somewhat limited, results so far link it to more positive emotions, less stress and fewer health complaints, a greater sense that we can achieve our goals, fewer sick days, and higher satisfaction with our jobs and our coworkers.
Steve Foran, founder of Gratitude at Work, says, “The number one reason people leave their job is because they don’t feel appreciated.” Contrariwise, according to a study by Wharton Business School, receiving a “thank you” from a supervisor boosted productivity by more than 50%.
So, how can we be more grateful in life and at work? Begin with you. Gratitude journals are popular and easily found at bookstores or Amazon. However, a simple $1 composition notebook will do. Give yourself three minutes and write down what you are grateful for. It can be big, like “my health,” or small, like “the AC is working.” Nobody needs to see it, but simply writing it down will make it tangible for you. The more often you write in your journal, the more you’ll notice how grateful you are and all the things you can be grateful for.
Another tool is to remind yourself as you are driving to work to simply think of who or what you are grateful for at work. You can play a game with yourself. Every red light or red car on the highway means you get to think of one thing you are grateful for. Couldn’t think of one while driving? Then, how about, “I have a car that can take me to work.”
Take your gratitude a step further. If someone specific came to your mind while playing the gratitude game, write them a note or let them know in person that you are grateful for them. Make sure you are specific in what you are grateful for. For example, instead of, “Good job,” write or say, “I noticed how hard you worked at your presentation with client G. Thank you.” This is where you really place gratitude into action. Feeling grateful is great, but showing your gratitude and appreciation is magical. This is how you can begin to transform your workplace.