“Gratitude, like all feelings, has a connotation of being intangible. But the effects that it has can be measured. It’s not just a ‘nice to have’ in our lives. It’s a necessity. As I would come to learn, gratitude is a trait that has kept our species going.”
This quote sets the tone for the first episode in what promises to be a dynamic and compelling new podcast series for National Gratitude Month. “Measures of Gratitude,” hosted by Mike Lovett, senior content marketing specialist at Workhuman®, will explore the meaning and impact that gratitude has on our work and personal lives. Episode one features Emiliana Simon-Thomas, science director at The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.
Here are six highlights from the series’ inaugural installment:
1. Researchers study gratitude in both a broad and a day-to-day context. In a broad sense, gratitude is “a reverence for what’s good in your life – noticing, recognizing, acknowledging, and honoring that there is good in your world,” notes Emiliana. The tangible, day-to-day concept of gratitude is “an interpersonal experience, where we recognize the effort another person has put forth to do something that has benefitted us directly.”
2. Gratitude is an emotion that comes with a sense of reciprocity. When someone contributes to our welfare, it increases our desire and motivation to contribute to their well-being in the future. As Emiliana observes: “I recognize that person as someone who I can trust and look to at another time – and feel a little bit more willing to invest my own resources, effort, and energy moving forward.”
3. Rather than simply an “aspirational virtue,” gratitude is an “evolved quality of human mental life.” According to Emiliana, evolutionary adaptation has prepared us for social interactions, relationships, and connections based on a foundation of gratitude. When we recognize that others can do good, that benefits us – and compels us to do good in return.
4. People who are more grateful are happier – and their lives are better. People who score higher on a measure of gratitude feel better and tend to be less disturbed by everyday hassles. And they experience fewer physical and physiological issues – common pain, muscle soreness, gastrointestinal distress, itchiness, and high blood pressure.
5. Gratitude is the first building block toward creating a better company. “When a company practices [gratitude], everything improves,” notes Mike. “Employees are more inspired, less stressed, build more meaningful relationships, develop trust, and turn into better leaders.”
6. Workplaces tend to be too “transactional.” Emiliana notes that when people feel they are paid simply for the hours they work or the tasks they complete, their motivation diminishes. Work becomes less interesting, less meaningful, and less inspiring.
Want to learn more?
Here are some additional blogs that explore and illuminate the power of gratitude in our work and personal lives.
Dr. Robert A. Emmons explores the vast body of psychological, behavioral, and social research – including some from the healthcare arena – that has revealed the power of gratitude.
Eileen Nolan, Workhuman’s vice president of strategic accounts, argues that the most successful companies are those that create a healthy gratitude culture through social recognition. ￼
In a groundbreaking keynote presentation, Workhuman® founder and CEO Eric Mosley offered insights into gratitude – while highlighting the data and science that supports its impact on business. ￼
In a wide-ranging discussion, Sarah Mulcahy, senior content marketing manager at Workhuman, interviewed Dr. Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis.
In a moving personal story, Jess Huckins, content producer at Workhuman, drew on research from Workhuman’s 2019 survey report to better understand how gratitude and connection affect inclusivity and a feeling of belonging.
To mark World Gratitude Day, I share examples of how you can leverage this worldwide event to jump-start employee appreciation – and make gratitude the “North Star” of your company.
About the AuthorMore Content by Aaron Kinne