Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation or thankfulness in response to receiving a benefit. The emerging science of gratitude has produced some important findings. From childhood to old age, accumulating evidence documents a wide array of psychological, physical, and relational benefits associated with gratitude (Emmons, 2020).
Gratitude is important not only because it helps us feel good, but also because it inspires us to do good. Gratitude heals, energizes, and transforms lives in a myriad of ways consistent with the notion that virtue is both its own reward and produces other rewards (Emmons, 2020).
As leaders, appreciating those around us is an important skill. We must be able to praise and appreciate our staff, clients, and team in order to get the best out of them.
“To give a flavour of these research findings, dispositional gratitude has been found to be positively associated with qualities such as empathy, forgiveness, and the willingness to help others. For example, people who rated themselves as having a grateful disposition perceived themselves as having more socially helpful characteristics, expressed by their empathetic behaviour, and emotional support for friends within the last month (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002). In our research, when people report feeling grateful, thankful, and appreciative in their daily lives, they also feel more loving, forgiving, joyful, and enthusiastic. Notably, the family, friends, partners and others who surround them consistently report that people who practice gratitude are viewed as more helpful, more outgoing, more optimistic, and more trustworthy” (Emmons, 2020).
Grateful thinking fosters the savouring of positive life experiences and situations so that people can extract the maximum possible satisfaction and enjoyment from their circumstances (Emmons, 2020).
“The very act of viewing good things as gifts itself is likely to be beneficial for mood. How much does it matter? Consider these eye-popping statistics. People are 25% happier if they keep gratitude journals, sleep 1/2 hour more per evening, and exercise 33% more each week compared to persons who are not keeping journals. They achieve up to a 10% reduction in systolic blood pressure and decrease their dietary fat intake by up to 20%. Lives marked by frequent positive emotions of joy, love and gratitude are up to 7 years longer than lives bereft of these pleasant feelings.” (Emmons, 2020).
Task: Write down one person you’re thankful for, 1 event or opportunity you are grateful for, and 1 little thing you are grateful for.
Gratitude works best in the form “I’m grateful for X because Y” For example, “I’m grateful for this challenge for giving me this opportunity to do something for myself.
Emmons, R. A. (2020). Positive psychology. In R. Biswas-Diener & E. Diener (Eds), Noba textbook series: Psychology. Champaign, IL: DEF publishers. Retrieved from http://noba.to/9z4jf5xe