Today is World Gratitude Day. But I’ll be honest—when our copywriter extraordinaire, Sarah Payne, told me today was World Gratitude Day, my first reaction was to say “But that’s ridiculous! Every day should be world gratitude day!”
(And if you want to take my word, just ask Pope Francis, who recently identified three phrases for a happy life, one of which was: “’Thank you’ — our society has great need for gratitude, which makes us more sensitive to the dignity of the human person and the demands of social justice. Thankfulness is also the language of God, to whom above all we must express our gratitude.” If it’s good enough for the Pope, it’s good enough for all of us!)
But then I simmered down a little. The truth is, days like this are a great reminder to us to stop and count our blessings. And with the hectic life most of us lead, we really do need a formal way to express gratitude. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a formal social recognition system to remind us to say thank you, and we all can get caught up in the day–to-day and forget to be grateful for what we have.
To that end, I want to share with you one of the ten tips I took away from our WorkHuman 2015 Conference. If you’d like to read the rest of the takeways, check out the Ten-Step Guide to Working More Human:
Gratitude is something we care deeply about at Globoforce—and it is equally vital for our clients—some of the leading companies in building a human workplace. Psychologist Robert Emmons is the world’s foremost scholar on the topic of gratitude, and he has found that being grateful is integral to our well-being—at home and at work. The practice of gratitude, writes Dr. Emmons in his book Thanks!, can increase happiness levels by around 25%.
Gratitude has moved into the mainstream of organizational psychology. Studies have shown that consistently grateful people have better emotional well-being, are healthier, more energetic, achieve more, are more resilient to trauma, and are less likely to be depressed, stressed, and lonely.
Gratitude interventions and training, says Dr. Emmons, have proven to significantly move the needle on all of these metrics, increasing social connections and producing long-lasting results. It also amplifies the value of future rewards, thus extending the power of emotional connection, reward and recognition.
FOUR TIPS FOR BUILDING GRATITUDE
(Adapted from the work of Robert Emmons)
- Keep a Gratitude Journal. Spend a few minutes every day to write down what you’re grateful for.
- Remember the Bad. Remember the hard times that you have experienced. This contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.
- Ask Yourself Three Questions. Use the Naikan meditation technique, and reflect on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?”
- Go Through the Motions. Go through grateful motions like smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude to trigger gratitude.
What are you grateful for?