Usually, a new year brings new fresh energy. Teams are starting to kickstart plans put into place at the end of the year. People are resetting their personal goals and vision for their jobs and career progression.
Yet there’s an inevitable slowing of this fresh new pace after the first month or two. Where you risk falling back into the same patterns of behavior that kept you stuck last year. There’s one practice that could change all that for good.
While there are many studies that have shown the health benefits of consistently practicing gratitude in our personal lives, there are distinct advantages to bringing this same attitude into the workplace. Both for employers and employees.
Gratitude is a state of mind that arises when you affirm a good thing in your life that comes from outside yourself, or when you notice and relish little pleasures.
Happier and healthier
Those three in four people who have said they’ve felt stressed and overwhelmed in the past year have also likely stumbled upon the numerous suggestions for starting a gratitude journal or bringing more appreciation into their lives.
And, there are good reasons for this.
Studies have shown that people who are more appreciative and grateful on a daily basis experience far less stress, and far more happiness. This extends to physical well-being too, from lower blood pressure through to better immune function.
Enhanced performance at work
When it comes to work, the impact extends far beyond ‘happier’ staff, with gratitude practices shown to increase the productivity of employees by 50%. And feedback from employees is consistent. A Glassdoor Employee Appreciation survey in the US showed four in five employees (81%) are motivated to work harder when they receive appreciation for their work.
Humans are wired for this. We need to feel appreciated, significant and respected. And given the amount of time we’re in the office, we need this from work more than ever.
And while some people will be driven by this need more than others, we all still need to fulfill it. When we feel connected and significant we perform better, happier – environment has a knock-on effect. And expressing gratitude can support this feeling.
It’s not just for the boss
When gratitude is brought into the workplace it can swiftly feel like the responsibility is on management to integrate this into the culture.
However, given that anyone can ‘do it’, the practice becomes not just about ‘bosses’ expressing their gratitude for staff. The appreciation can flow in multiple ways, to your direct team, another team, across colleagues, and even right back to the boss.
Gratitude is about more than just making your colleagues and staff feel good. The more you express gratitude, the better you feel too. People who practice gratitude have greater mental alertness, enthusiasm, energy, and happiness. All qualities that are useful both inside and outside the workplace.
What you focus on is what you get
When you’re in heightened modes of stress and anxiety, you’re often focused on what could go wrong rather than seeing possibilities or what’s already working.
Gratitude gets us to look up and start noticing what’s working. The more you see, the more you’re fuelled. And, when we feel good, we want to do more and more to amplify this feeling.
As Peak Performance Coach, Tony Robbins, says: “You can free yourself when you trade your expectations for appreciation.”
And, the effect is contagious. This Stanford study suggested that “gratitude spills over onto other beneficiaries” meaning that one act of ‘thanks’ could create a chain reaction.