Showing gratitude means exhibiting appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.
Psychological research supports showing gratitude as it is associated with the development of improved feelings of happiness. Individuals who express gratitude report more positive interpersonal relationships, better coping mechanisms, and improved health.
Psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami have performed research on the effect of expressing gratitude and emotions.
They found that study participants who focused on things they were grateful had more feelings of optimism, less doctors’ visits and exercised more than those who focused on weekly occurrences that upset them.
Researcher have also found that encouragement in the workplace and expression of gratitude have resulted in improved employee performance.
The effects of practicing gratitude have been shown to improve sleep, boost immunity and improve overall wellbeing. How does one put this into practice?
In order to show gratitude, one must first be mindful of their surroundings.
Daily rushed lives force us to operate as if on automatic. We rarely slow down to pay attention to what is happening around us. Time is not a luxury for most people.
This leads to taking opportunities to express gratitude for granted. Slow down and notice the details of your day. Did someone hold a door open for you?
Did a co-worker help you make an approaching deadline? Did the torrential rains hold off until you made it into your house? Through out our day amazing things happen in our own personal realities. Take time to engage in reality.
There are usually multiple things to be grateful for through out our day.
Once you being to focus on all these things, your thoughts may become overwhelming.
Keeping a written record of things to be grateful for allow individuals to organize thoughts and put them into context. Journals allow thought to be made concrete which enables us to better focus and expand upon the concepts.
Studies have shown that gratitude journals have been associated with improved feelings of alertness, determination, and energy. Written thoughts also create ways to track persons to direction expressions of gratitude towards.
Finally, to live a life of gratitude it is important to express your feelings of gratitude. Being thankful is less impactful if we do not take steps to show what we are thankful for.
Reflect back on the people you pass who have helped at work, home or school.
Did you tell them thank you or how their help impacted you? Expressions of gratitude mean reaching out to those who have impacted our lives and telling them “thank you”. Tell that helpful coworker “Thanks for saving my time.” Tell your employees, “I appreciate your hard work.” Tell your husband or wife, “I am grateful for all you do to support me.”
Verbal or written expressions of gratitude allow us to connect more deeply and increase positive feelings for not only ourselves but the person we are thanking as well.