Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Why should we be interested in developing gratitude?

September 17th, 2014
The evidence that cultivating gratefulness is good for us is overwhelming. Although some of us are naturally more grateful than others, gratitude is something we can develop. Let me tell you about some interesting research by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, leading American investigators of gratitude.

During a ten-week study, they randomly assigned a large group of people into three groups. Every week, one group wrote down what they were grateful for, another wrote about hassles and the third wrote about neutral matters. At the end of the ten weeks, which group do you think felt better about their lives?

Those who kept a gratitude journal not only felt more joy, happiness and satisfaction; they exercised more, had fewer physical symptoms like headaches, stomach upset and muscle stiffness, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week than participants in the other two groups.

Need more convincing? Look at these statistics. In comparison to those people who do not keep gratitude journals, people who keep gratitude journals:

· Are 25% happier

· Sleep ½ hour more per night

· Exercise 33% more per week

· See a reduction in their systolic blood pressure by up to 10% and

· Decrease their dietary fat intake by up to 20%

Writing a gratitude letter and making a gratitude visit to a person who has made a significant difference in your life, but whom you have never properly thanked, is another powerful way to increase your sense of well-being. One study showed that simply writing and delivering one letter increased happiness more than any other gratitude intervention. A single gratitude visit boosted happiness for one month, but additional gratitude visits increased happiness even after six months.

Practicing gratitude has a positive effect on both the person receiving it and the person expressing it. It is hard to be upset or negative when we are being thankful. Hans Selye maintained that “among all emotions, there is one which, more than any other, accounts for the presence or absence of stress in human relations: that is the feeling of gratitude.” Moreover, study after study presents compelling evidence of the ripple effect of gratitude. So it doesn’t matter what we are grateful for, we will feel the benefit through all aspects of our lives, including work.

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Count Your Blessings: The Wonder of Gratitude

December 6th, 2010

The ability to notice, appreciate and savor the elements of life is an essential determinant of well-being. Research has shown that those of us who are grateful are happier, more hopeful and more helpful to others. We are less anxious, more spiritually inclined and report higher levels of well-being.

Gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, increase the amount we exercise, and increase generosity and cooperation. It is not surprising that people with spirit at work are more grateful than those employees with low spirit at work.

We are all familiar with the feeling of gratitude. Somebody does something nice for us or gives us a gift and we, in turn, feel thankful. We know that they didn’t have to make the gesture and that they did it for our benefit. We experience gratitude when we value the gift and the intent of the person who gave it to us.

Too often, others are benevolent towards us but we are unaware of it or fail to understand the value of their offering. We miss out on the feelings of gratitude and, of course, the benefits. The foundation of gratitude is knowing the gift or kind gesture was freely given, no strings attached. There is also awareness that one didn’t do anything to deserve the gift.

But gratitude is more than a grateful response. It is also a sense of awe and wonder for life and thankfulness for what we have.  Really, gratitude is an approach to life – a way of thinking – that can be chosen freely. It is not dependent on wealth, occupation, position or health.

We can choose gratitude even when we are unhappy with our work, colleagues or boss. We can choose gratitude when we feel stress. We can even choose gratitude when we are criticized and feel inadequate.

In my research, I have found that gratitude goes hand-in-hand with work related outcomes such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, organizational culture and spirit at work. As our sense of gratitude increases, so too does our experience of these work-related outcomes.

What are you grateful for in your life? In your work? And who are you grateful to? Have you told them? I invite you to bring gratitude into your life and work.

Is your organization ready to create a comprehensive spirit at work strategy and bring gratitude into the workplace? Contact us today for a free consultation.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter. The focus of December’s newsletter is gratitude. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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