Gratitude is the appreciation of the good things in your life, big or small. It’s a powerful emotion that can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. When you’re grateful, you’re more likely to feel happy, optimistic, and resilient.
Practicing gratitude is a simple but effective way to improve your overall well-being. It’s something that anyone can do, no matter how busy or stressed you are. So why not start today? Here’s how you can do it.
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What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is the feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for the good things in your life. It is a positive emotion that can have a profound impact on our mental and physical health.
Did you know that according to the American Psychological Association, 93% of respondents said that they would put more effort into their work if their leader was more grateful?
A study from Harvard University and Wharton showed that a “thank you” from a supervisor boosted productivity by more than 50%. Even though multiple studies and surveys recognize the importance of gratitude, people are less likely to show gratitude at work than anywhere else.
What’s more interesting is the discrepancy between the benefits of showing gratitude and how much people receive it. As high as 35% of people say that their managers have never thanked them.
Gratitude is important when it comes to mental health and personal and organizational success, so where does this discrepancy come from, and how you can work to fix it?
Why do People Find It Hard to Express Gratitude?
When I talk to people at events most of the time they find it hard to remember when was the last time they gave a genuine compliment to someone. This can be someone at work, a spouse, their children, or a member of their community. Most of the time they struggle to remember something.
So I want to kick this back to you. When was the last time you expressed gratitude through a genuine compliment of someone’s work or efforts, celebrating their wins? If you struggle to remember, keep reading.
So why it’s hard for people to express gratitude?
This is because of the negativity bias. You see, your brain focuses on the negative and is more receptive to something that can make your life worse instead of focusing on what makes your life good. This, in turn, means that you tend to correct people, spot what they do wrong, and don’t acknowledge what they did right.
I’m sure you’ve seen or even experienced something like this at work: when someone makes a mistake they’re being reprimanded but when they do a good job, it’s part of their job. Sounds familiar? This is because of the negativity bias.
That’s why the no. #1 reason why people leave jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated.
Why is Gratitude Important?
Expressing gratitude is a practice that promotes mental and emotional well-being by shifting your focus from negative aspects to positive ones. It strengthens your relationships and helps build trust. Gratitude also encourages a more compassionate and generous society.
Gratitude is a simple yet powerful act that has a positive impact on our lives and the world around us.
You focus on the positive aspects of your life. When you focus on the positive aspects, you are less likely to dwell on the negative. This can help improve your mood and outlook on life.
Self-esteem Boost. When you appreciate yourself and your accomplishments, you feel more confident and capable.
Gratitude strengthens relationships. When you express gratitude to others, it shows them that you care about them and appreciate them. This can help to build stronger and more lasting relationships.
Gratitude can improve your physical health. Studies have shown that gratitude can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, and boost the immune system.
In the context of workplace and leadership, gratitude has multiple benefits, such as:
Gratitude creates a positive work environment: A grateful leader is a leader who inspires, motivates, and empowers others. This creates a positive and productive work environment that benefits everyone involved.
Enhances Motivation and Engagement: When leaders express gratitude for their team’s efforts and accomplishments, it fosters a sense of appreciation and recognition.
Promotes Positive Relationships: Gratitude promotes stronger relationships within the team. When leaders express appreciation and acknowledge everyone’s input, it strengthens relationships and creates a more united team.
Encourages a Growth Mindset: Gratitude encourages a focus on learning and improvement. Instead of dwelling on mistakes or setbacks, grateful leaders focus on the progress made and the lessons learned, creating a culture of continuous growth and development.
Attracts and Retains Talent: Gratitude is a magnet for talent. When leaders express appreciation, they create a workplace where employees feel valued and respected, making it more likely to attract and retain top talent.
Promotes Resilience and Well-being: Gratitude fosters resilience in the face of challenges. By focusing on the positive, grateful leaders are better equipped to navigate challenges and maintain a positive outlook.
10 Ways to Practice Gratitude Today
Taking people for granted and not expressing gratitude can lead to strained relationships, resentment, and a lack of motivation or willingness to help. It diminishes trust and creates a negative atmosphere in personal and professional settings.
Overall, having a gratitude attitude means that you give people the recognition they deserve for doing good things. To become more mindful in your daily life, I created a simple tool that anyone can use in order to practice gratitude more often.
1. Give Genuine Compliments
Did you know that every time you give someone a genuine compliment( a form of gratitude) you activate the same pathways in their brain as receiving cash? Think of it as this: Every time you wake up you have a stack of cash to give out to people in your life and nothing will be lacking in your banking account.
So at the end of the day, I want to count on one hand the people you express gratitude for, who you’ve thanked or appreciated. This is a great exercise for practicing gratitude.
2. Keep a gratitude journal.
Each day, take a few minutes to write down three things you are grateful for. This could be anything from your health and family to small things, like the weather or a delicious meal.
Keeping a gratitude journal is helpful for practicing gratitude because it encourages a daily reflection on positive aspects of life, shifting your focus from negative to positive. The benefits include improved mental well-being, reduced stress, increased resilience, better sleep quality, and better relationships.
3. Say thank you
Make a conscious effort to say thank you to the people in your life, both big and small. This could be your spouse, your children, your friends, your coworkers, or members of your community.
4. Practice mindful gratitude
Take some time each day to on the things you are grateful for. This can be a great way to start your day or to unwind before bed. When you are mindful, you are more likely to notice and appreciate the good things around you.
5. Help others
Helping others is a great way to show your gratitude. Helping others creates a positive feedback loop. When you contribute to someone else’s well-being or happiness, it often generates a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
6. Celebrate success
Take the time to celebrate success. This will help you to focus on the positive and to feel grateful for your accomplishments. Don’t overlook other people’s wins. Make a point to encourage and give praise at work or to your family members for their accomplishments.
7. Be grateful for your mistakes
Mistakes are a part of life. They can teach us valuable lessons and help us to grow. When you appreciate your mistakes, you acknowledge them as opportunities for learning and growth. This mindset reframes challenges as stepping stones to improvement, fostering resilience.
8. Practice positive affirmations
Positive affirmations are short statements that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day. Some examples of positive affirmations for gratitude include: “I am grateful for my health,” “I am grateful for my family,” and “I am grateful for all the good things in my life.”
9. Express gratitude to yourself
It is important to be grateful for yourself and your accomplishments. Take some time each day to appreciate your strengths, your talents, and your unique qualities. You might also be grateful for your progress, no matter how small it may seem.
10. Create a Gratitude Jar
Start a physical or digital “gratitude jar” where you collect notes about things you’re grateful for. It’s a tangible reminder of the positive aspects of your life. Here’s how this works:
Positive Focus: Writing down things you’re grateful for shifts your focus toward positive aspects of your life. It helps counterbalance negativity.
Reflection: The act of recording daily moments of gratitude encourages reflection on positive experiences, fostering a mindful awareness of the good things in your life.
Uplifting Reminders: Reading through past notes in the jar serves as a reminder of the positive moments and accomplishments, boosting your mood during challenging times.
Gratitude Practice: It establishes a consistent gratitude practice. The routine of noting down positive aspects helps cultivate a habit of recognizing and appreciating the good in your life.
Visual Representation: A physical gratitude jar provides a tangible, visual representation of your blessings. This visual cue can be powerful in reinforcing a positive mindset.
Celebration of Progress: Over time, the jar becomes a collection of your journey and personal growth. It allows you to celebrate the progress and positive changes in your life.
The best way to start practicing gratitude is to simply start noticing the good things in your life. Pay attention to the things you are grateful for, both big and small. You can also try keeping a gratitude journal, meditating on gratitude, or practicing positive affirmations.
The key to making gratitude a habit is to be consistent. Make a commitment to practicing gratitude every day, even if it is just for a few minutes. The more you practice gratitude, the easier it will become to make it a habit.
One of the biggest challenges to practicing gratitude is overcoming negativity bias. Your brain is naturally wired to focus on the negative, so it can be difficult to train yourself to focus on the positive. If you find yourself struggling to practice gratitude, try to be patient with yourself. It takes time to break old habits and form new ones.