Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is an opportunity to pause and take stock of what I am grateful for. In addition to turkey I can fill myself with the warm realization of what is good in my life.
Gratitude has a profound impact at work as well.
The obvious benefits of gratitude are:
- When we thank others, it reinforces the behaviors we most want
- It helps others to feel good about the way they impact us
- We strengthen our relationships with those we’re grateful to
The less obvious, but equally powerful benefits are:
- We positively change our own brain chemistry! Gratitude, and the mental images of things we like, trigger the release of endorphins and other biochemicals. These help us relax, recharge and refocus. We are then able to think more creatively, flexibly and positively.
- These same changes influence our tone of voice, facial expression and even the words we use. Making us far more likely to positively influence others
- There’s increasing evidence of a correlation between positive attitudes and health and longevity. That’s delightful.
- Positive, grateful people tend to be more popular. I don’t know about you, but I find that helps me in so many ways.
I’ve found that I can hone this skill to the point of proactively looking for what I like about people and what they do and then causally mentioning these things in conversations, during trainings, etc. Sincere references like this help build rapport, enable others to feel safe opening up with me, and often engender return positivity.
Here are three ways you can use this power this week:
- Gratitude List: Create a list of the people you are grateful to and why.
- Gratitude Letter: Write a letter to someone who has positively influenced your life. Sending it makes it even better, although just the writing is enough to shift your own perspective.
- Mention sincere praise to five people a day for the next two weeks. This helps it become a skill you can use any time, and hopefully a popularity-growing habit will form!
You depend on good relationships for almost everything you do in life. You might as well hone the powerful of gratitude to be happier, more successful and heck, it might even help you live longer!
For more information on building resilience through influencing yourself go to my post on this topic.
There’s also a great article in the Wall Street Journal on this topic.