Here in Canada Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Soon many of us will be taking time to acknowledge what we’re grateful for. Then, after the weekend of feasting, we’ll go back to not thinking too much about gratitude. But gratitude, practiced daily, has powerful effects on our physical health, psychological well-being, our relationships with others and our careers. So why not engage in a little gratefulness every day?
Gratitude in Business
Back in December of last year I wrote Gratitude as a Business Strategy which underscored the surprisingly powerful impact this deceptively simple practice has. In its most basic form, gratitude is merely the act of feeling grateful. Later, I’ll describe a potent technique to engage this strategy in a more structured way.
Here’s a summary of what we know about the power of gratitude at work:
- Grateful leaders behave in ways that inspire others to follow;
- Leaders who are grateful are usually passionate and their sense of hope and possibility allows them to commit deeply;
- Grateful leaders tend to be generous with praise, credit, resources and faith in other’s abilities;
- Team mates who are grateful – those who focus on more on what’s working and on the contributions of others instead of complaining, dismissing or blaming – are simply more pleasant to be around.
- Colleagues who are grateful are more likely to build strong ties of mutual support with others and are able to call upon these bonds to get stuff done.
One expert on the scientific impact of gratitude, Dr. Robert Emmons, cites that feeling grateful can improve your health, mental function and relationships with others. In studying over one thousand people, of all ages, Emmons found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
- Stronger immune systems;
- Lower blood pressure;
- Exercise more and take better care of their health;
- Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking.
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More alert, alive, and awake;
- More joy and pleasure;
- More helpful, generous and compassionate;
- More forgiving;
- More outgoing;
- Feeling less lonely and isolated.
I have helped many clients cultivate gratitude, by and large, by one singularly simple strategy: a gratitude journal. All you need to do is keep a daily journal in which you regularly record the things for which you’re grateful. It’s so basic, it’s easy to discount it’s potential, but it can work for you as it has for many. Of all the strategies that I draw from, this deceptively simple strategy seems to be one of the most powerful.
So, be grateful. It’s better for your mind, body, relationships and your career.