Gratitude. It’s not just a feel-good thing. It’s a powerful life builder.
University of California, Davis, Psychology professor Robert Emmons is a leading expert on the topic of gratitude. He compiled years of research on the subject and published a best-selling book, “Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier”.
Emmons’ research discovered that people who see life as a gift and acquire an “attitude of gratitude” experience many advantages. Practicing gratitude can improve your health (emotionally and physically) and even enhance relationships.
“Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished. Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.”
A Culture of Gratitude
From sports teams to the work place, gratitude is vital.
Research on gratitude and appreciation demonstrates that when employees feel valued they:
- Report higher job satisfaction
- Are willing to work longer hours or otherwise “go the extra mile”
- Engage in productive relationships with co-workers and supervisors
- Feel motivated to do their best, and work towards achieving the company’s goals
Even Google, often known as “the place to work”, values employees and provides a work environment that encourages employee input and personal growth, routinely rewarding and recognizing performance.
CEO Larry Page stated, “My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society.”
But what happens when an employee doesn’t feel valued?
A recent study of over 1,700 employees by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that over half of all employees planned to seek different employment because they felt underappreciated and undervalued.
Gratitude on the Home Front
In our personal lives, researchers have found that gratitude can have profound effects – it can even lower blood pressure and increase levels of positive emotions. Often, the more grateful people feel, the less depressed they are.
In studying marriages, Dr. John Gottman from the University of Washington claims that he can predict with 90% accuracy after observing a married couple for only three minutes which ones will flourish…and which will stumble.
His formula for a marriage to last? For every negative (like a complaint or criticism) there needs to be about five positives (compliments, laughter, etc).
Simple Ways to Incorporate Gratitude into Your Life
- Don’t wait for significant events to give thanks. Give thanks for simple things in life – a morning sunrise…a kind store clerk…a pet’s companionship…a good neighbor…even your morning cup of coffee! The list is endless!
- Each day make it a point to show gratitude for something new. Don’t look to yesterday to highlight what makes you thankful – find something new today! Was a work project was completed on time? Did you receive a thoughtful email from a friend? Did a co-worker go above and beyond to help you?
- Try a gratitude journal. If you’re not big on writing, try jotting down on a slip of paper something that you are grateful for. Be specific! Instead of writing down “I’m grateful for my family”, note something special that was done, like “My mom picked up my son from school today to save me a stop.”
You’ll find that the more you acknowledge the good, your world changes!
Gratitude: The Foundation of Success
Expressing gratitude has worked for me, and I know it can work for you, too. Here’s what happened to me when I expressed gratitude to a former mentor…
A couple of years ago, I thanked a former mentor for providing the knowledge, inspiration and encouragement I needed to really make an impact in the life of a particularly challenging client I had. I sent the thank you “for fun and for free” – without any strings attached.
A week later, that same mentor called to ask me if I was interested in working for her. This offer was huge given that I had only thought it would be possible to work with her in a 5-year time-frame. My reaching out to her to express my appreciation (even though I had absolutely no expectation behind it) paid off big time.
I began working with her and pursuing my dream of working internationally again in 1/3 the time I had intended! When you choose to focus on the goodness in life, as I did in the example above, you attract more of that into your experience.
Although practicing gratitude sounds like a simple thing to do, it’s often overlooked. Yet it’s one of most powerful ways to strengthen your inner self…and enhance your outer world. When you find something good and give thanks for it, other good things seem to naturally appear!
Do you want to learn more about how gratitude can redefine your life and help you accomplish things you never thought possible? Apply for a Bolder Moves Discovery Session. Or, contact me via email or by visiting my website, BolderMoves.com, anytime!
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Colleen Slaughter Raue, Managing Partner of Authentic Leadership International
Colleen is a transformational leadership coach who guides international leaders as they attain the clarity, courage and self-confidence necessary to realize higher levels of productivity and fulfillment in both their personal and professional lives.
Her purpose is to facilitate her clients’ transformation from limiting beliefs and self-doubts into a deeper, more powerful knowingness of how much they – and what they envision for themselves – truly matter.
Colleen’s perspectives were recently featured in an article on the International Coach Federation’s website here.