Interesting read here in Forbes reinforcing the, now widely accepted concept, of the positive effects of practicing gratitude. The virtues of actively practicing gratitude have been described for many years now by psychologists, psychotherapists, neuroscientists, coaches and H.R.professionals and there is plenty of science to back it up.
Research shows that practicing gratitude leads to the release of the Serotonin and Dopamine, neurochemicals involved in the regulation of mood and emotion, the so-called “happy hormones”, whilst also reducing levels of the “stress hormone” Cortisol. Studies indicate that practicing gratitude on a regular basis can improve general wellbeing and attitude, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships and reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Physiologically it has been shown to boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure and improve sleep. A lot to be said for that!
This particular article also focuses on the benefit to employers and managers in practicing gratitude in the workplace. Making an effort to recognise and acknowledge a job well done, and thanking our employees, has had a positive effect on retention and motivation in organisations, with a marked reduction in anxiety, stress and absenteeism. Leaders take note! This can also extend to the field of sport whereby coaches and team leaders/managers by simply recognising and thanking a player’s effort or a job well done, can have a momentous effect on that player’s mood, self-esteem and ultimate performance, when the gratitude is expressed in a targeted and intentional way. In a similar manner gratitude expressed by the player to the coach, coaching staff or other team members will have a significant benefit. The great thing about gratitude is that it works both ways. Both the giver and receiver feel better as a result !
To really benefit from practicing gratitude, however, it needs to become a habit in your day to day life. This is not that hard to do. Many people keep a gratitude journal. Others develop the habit of writing thank you notes on a regular basis. You could also resolve to thank someone different every week – you might often think about doing it but don’t. When you receive a gift or a nice gesture from someone, consider how they intended to bring good into your life. Take a moment to visualize their wiliness to help. you, make you feel happy, or be there for you in a challenging moment.
A good way to start is every day, either first ting in the morning or last thing at night, think of three things you are grateful for on that day. Write it down if you can, but that’s not really necessary. Try it for a week to start with and see if you notice the difference!