It’s that time of year: my Facebook is buzzing with daily posts declaring gratitude. Our newscasts are filled with reports of giving. And although our retail industry races past the official start of the December holidays, most of us are spending quality time preparing for and hosting Thanksgiving gatherings.
The holidays spotlight the practice of expressing gratitude, but research shows that there are scientific and measurable benefits to cultivating the practice year round. The Greater Good Science Center led by the University of California, Berkley has focused on quantifying the science of gratitude. Practicing gratitude on a regular basis has a number of physical, psychological, and social benefits. Because gratitude is considered a social emotion, it can help us build better relationships.
- Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present.
- Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions.
- Grateful people are more stress resistant.
- Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth.
There are many reasons we don’t practice gratitude, but wouldn’t it be great if we made this a regular practice in our work life as much as our personal life? I know I can always use more colleagues with positive emotions that are resistant to stress. When I think about my professional life and the events at work, these outcomes are critical for individual and collaborative success. Maybe it’s as simple as starting a meeting with what you are thankful for in the past week. Or a simple email expressing your gratitude for something a coworker did for the team.
You can practice gratitude more formally by keeping a gratitude journal. However you choose to cultivate gratitude, you are giving back. So if you are currently posting your thanks on Facebook, keeping a journal, or just expressing reasons for thankfulness at the dining table, you have a jump start. Just don’t forget to do this after the pumpkin pie is gone!
Cheryl Farley is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter at @CherylMFarley or connect by email at email@example.com.