The Benefits of Gratitude
As Thanksgiving fast approaches, we enter into a month full of gratitude. We begin to see Facebook friends posting daily gratitude journals. We circle around a feast with friends and family, each taking a turn to say what we are thankful for this year. November is a month of thankfulness. Yet that attitude of gratitude tends to fade into the backdrop for the rest of the year. Recent research shows that practicing gratitude is one of the most valuable things we can do to boost our overall mental health, as well as our physical health. Creating a gratitude journal, handwriting thank-you notes, and performing random acts of kindness all do wonders for establishing a more optimistic outlook while reducing anxiety and depression¹.
Transitioning to the Workplace
In the workplace, the effects of practicing gratitude are no less pronounced. Research has shown that the number one characteristic potential employees look for in a positive work environment is to feel valued and appreciated². In addition to the boost in happiness of the initiator through showing gratitude, the recipients are also happier, thanks to feeling recognized and appreciated. One study even found that having happier employees increases productivity by 12%³. So how do we determine the best way to recognize and appreciate coworkers? The answer is simple: Find your coworkers’ Languages of Appreciation.
How to Make it Count
Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, found that the most effective way to recognize someone comes down to the recipient’s personal language. While one employee may prefer a public thank you in front of his or her coworkers, this will not work for everyone. Another employee may prefer a high-five, while another may prefer quality time with the supervisor to talk about project progress. To show gratitude in the most meaningful way, take a moment to think about the recipient’s language of appreciation and utilize that knowledge to make the recognition moment even more special. The effects will be beneficial to everyone.
- Amin, Amit. The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life. http://happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/
- Strack, Rainer. Job Preferences of 200,000 Job Seekers.
- Oswald, A. J., Proto, E., & Sgroi, D. Happiness and Productivity. http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/eproto/ workingpapers/happinessproductivity.pdf
- Chapman, Gary; White, Paul. The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.