As we welcome a new month and get closer to the end of another year, let’s take a moment to reflect on what is working – and even wonderful – in our lives!
Consider what you’re grateful for in your life now. Set a timer for 2 minutes and write down everything that…
This month, we’ll be refocusing on the core value of gratitude and how being thankful can improve how we live and lead.
The Science of Gratitude
You may have heard that practicing gratitude has actually been scientifically proven to enhance happiness, improve health, and boost well-being when done consistently. Here are some of the outcomes from practicing gratitude according to Psychologist and gratitude researcher, Dr. Robert Emmons and his team:
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• 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 optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
Gratitude Starts With Acknowledgment
While all of these benefits are convincing enough, intentionally practicing gratitude showed me something even more compelling that made me think of thankfulness in a new way.
Gratitude starts with acknowledgement. And when practiced regularly, it develops authenticity and integrity, ultimately building positive relationships within yourself and others.
You can acknowledge what you are thankful for and the people in your life that make it better. Think of the last time someone genuinely acknowledged WHO you are, not just WHAT you’ve done. What was the impact? When you proactively appreciate others at work or at home, you add value to your relationship AND it feels good! Here are two examples:
Modeling Gratitude at Work: When a colleague or your supervisor does something noteworthy, make a point to share the impact of their actions with them, especially if you see it positively affecting others on your team or in your workplace. This is particularly important if you are managing a team and developing young talent.
Example: I really appreciated your advocacy and support on this project and can see how your leadership has really boosted morale on our team!
Practicing Gratitude at Home: Parenting is often so functional that we can miss moments of acknowledgement. Take time to specifically acknowledge your family members for their character, not just their behavior.
Example: Wow! I love how kind and thoughtful you were when you shared your toy with your brother” instead of just saying “Good job sharing.”
The simple shift from expressing gratitude for someONE rather than for someTHING, can make all the difference!
Three AH HA Moments
I’ve had three powerful AH HA moments that show me HOW the act of focusing on and expressing gratitude can change your life from the inside out. Consider how you can adopt at least one of these lessons to share and attitude of gratitude this month:
AH HA #1: Being thankful forces you to first be mindful – to understand what has made you who you are, where you are now. Maybe it’s identifying something you’ve overcome or recognizing a person or experience that has made your life better.
AH HA #2: Gratitude also promotes an honest practice of self-awareness that makes us more in touch with our core values and what really is driving our life. It’s impossible to be truly grateful for something that isn’t really in line with how we want to live.
AH HA #3: Strong relationships are built on a solid foundation of gratitude. Dr. Emmons, explains why gratitude is good:
“The social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
The consistent thread that runs through moments of gratitude comes from leading with intention to influence others.