It’s that time of year when we all start making lists about everything we are grateful for. While it’s nice to count our blessings on Thanksgiving, practicing gratitude throughout the year could have tremendous benefits in our overall quality of life. In fact, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked productivity hacks in our workplaces.
Research shows when we express thankfulness our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, neurochemicals that foster confidence, trust, willpower and enthusiastic emotions. The more we practice gratitude, the more we activate these positive feelings and, with time, these feelings become our outlook in life. This leads to stronger relationships with colleagues, employees, business partners, investors, customers and therefore better outcomes at work.
Gratitude also helps us expand our capacity for empathy. It encourages colleagues to express thanks and to focus on what they are grateful for, which can decrease mistreatment in a team. It also leads to more self-control, better self-care, sleep, overall health and therefore productivity.
Make it a Habit
Developing a habit of practicing gratitude on a daily basis enables us to shift our state and mood from negative to positive, all while increasing mental stamina and overall performance. But, like anything else, gratitude only works if we are consistent.
Take a moment to practice gratitude every day. Start with small steps. Each morning set aside five minutes and think of three things you are grateful for. Don't just say it, write it down in your VEST journal. At work serve as a role model. Take time to appreciate employees, colleagues and peers. Making time every day to be grateful will make you feel more abundant and connected, all while cultivating a deep, lasting sense of thankfulness.
Practicing gratitude isn’t a cure for negative emotions. To practice gratitude authentically you must remain honest about your feelings, allowing gratitude to emerge amid your circumstances and emotions. Mastering the practice of gratitude is about setting your mind on all the positives that exist in your life in the present moment instead of worrying about the past, future or on what you don't have. It's about focusing on the fact that true fulfillment comes from within and not from achievements or external circumstances.
At VEST we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn with and from each one of our members.