An attitude of gratitude fosters an overall feeling of well-being, even in the face of daily negativity.
What does gratitude have to do with your job? After all, employment is, at heart, a business arrangement — i.e., you give employers your work, and in exchange they give you money.
But if you think there isn’t any room for gratitude in this equation, think again. Gratitude is more than just a nice thing your mother taught you (or tried to teach you). An attitude of gratitude fosters an overall feeling of well-being, even in the face of daily negativity. Practicing gratitude creates an atmosphere of civility, which reduces stress and builds teamwork.
The fact is that your employers are lucky to have you work for them, and you are lucky to have a job. Fortunately, gratitude is like a muscle that strengthens with use. So here are four super-simple tips for how to keep giving thanks even after the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone:
The “three good things” strategy. For some reason, humans are hard-wired to focus on the negatives and forget about the positives. Combat this tendency by taking a moment every evening to identify three good things that happened at work that day. The more energy you put into this, the more good feelings you will get back.
The personal gratitude workout schedule. Set up a timetable for paying (sincere) compliments to your co-workers and subordinates. Put it on your computer calendar to pop up every week or so. This will force you to think about others, which will strengthen your professional relationships.
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The quick-and-easy “thanks.” Compliments take work. A simple thank you is, well, simple. From time to time, say thanks to the people you work with. Maybe you think you shouldn’t have to thank people for doing their jobs, but it not only makes that person feel good, it makes you feel good and doesn’t cost a cent.
The gratitude journal. What are you grateful for? Write it down. (It doesn’t have to be confined to only things at work.) A gratitude journal can reveal positives you had forgotten were there, and can help point the way toward multiplying those positives.
Gratitude: A useful and underrated career tool!
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.