I am grateful for all of the material things that I have, love and deserve but more particularly, for the people who have been a part of my journey so far. It is the people, that I gladly share these things with, who have the most impact on me.
The other aspect I have been exploring is privilege. Although I have worked for what I have, I have also met many people who have assisted me to get to where I am now. Many other people have not had the opportunities that I have been exposed to. I was fortunate to have a great childhood which taught me responsibility, love and instilled in me a strong work ethic. As I went through my schooling years and while I was gaining my full independence, I was always supported. Not everyone is lucky enough to have had that support and encouragement in their life.
There are some fantastic articles on the net about this topic which have caught my attention. The one by Robert Emmons, who is positioning himself as a leading scientific expert on gratitude, was of particular interest. His study was on the effect of gratitude on both the physical and psychological aspects of well-being and how this impacts on our relationships.
Emmons notes that gratitude is a social emotion. It is a relationship- strengthening emotion because it makes us see how we have been supported and affirmed by others. We receive a confirmation of goodness, because we can see good things in the world. By acknowledging the gifts and benefits we receive, we are stimulated to notice the amount of goodness in our life.
This is not to say that life is always rosy, as we all know it isn’t. But on most occasions there is something good that can be found in every bad situation even if we don’t see it at the time. There is a saying that appeals to me;
‘What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger’, so it is onward and upward as the next step – always.
Another part of gratitude is understanding where that goodness comes from. True gratitude involves a humble dependence on others. It is important to acknowledge that what we have and what we are able to achieve is dependent on our deepest held beliefs and on the other people in our lives.
Research shows why gratitude has transformative effects on our lives. Here are just some of the reasons.
- Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present
- Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions that can destroy our happiness.
- Grateful people are more stress resistant. With gratitude we are able to cope better when we face serious trauma, adversity or suffering
- Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth.
- Gratitude, like all things that are good, generally doesn’t come easily. We have been subconsciously conditioned to think in a particular way and we have to recondition and exercise our positive thoughts to transform that previous conditioning.
Now that we have discovered our own potential for gratitude how do we pay that forward to others? Let’s take this into our work environments.
It will come as no surprise that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on all levels; productivity, creativity and engagement improves. We are conditioned to think that success precedes happiness, “once I get the promotion, I’ll be happy”. This is a short term emotion that can easily and quickly be replaced by something else. Happiness that results from success is fleeting but, when the brain thinks positive thoughts both our business and personal life show success quicker and for an extended period of time.
Training yourself and your staff to have a positive attitude and to think grateful thoughts is like training any other part of the body; we need to create habits. As a team you could cultivate positive habits with the way co-workers interact and manage stress. This in turn will increase the success of the co-workers and the success of the business.
So how can we train ourselves and our co-workers to have gratitude and increase their positive energy?
To build your own daily list of gratitude, give yourself a Gratitude Journal. Write something down that you are grateful for, every day, be it large or small. You will see change over time and others will notice the change in you too. There are apps we can download also such as:
- Day One
- Moments private diary
Acknowledging your privilege and having gratitude isn’t going to produce the new version of yourself overnight. However, it will show you how much potential there is in your life and how much you are capable of achieving in all aspects of your life. You cannot expect success; you have to think it and go get it.
It is out there to be had and it is yours for the taking.