The Importance of Gratitude

Gratitude might seem like a buzzword that’s thrown around a lot these days (similar to mindfulness, which I wrote about here) – but it can actually help make you happier at work.

This post gives an overview of what gratitude is, some ways to help you practice being grateful, and some details about how it can help make you happier at work.

Image - The importance of gratitude

So, what does it mean to have gratitude?

Gratitude is the act of being thankful for the things that you have – not worrying about the things you don’t have yet – instead enjoying the good things already available to you. 

What benefits come from being grateful?

Research by Emmons and McCullough found that writing down five things you’re grateful for each week saw health benefits, such as participants generally feeling better when practicing gratitude. Also, the participants who practiced gratitude were found to exercise more often, or for longer periods of time.

It’s worth reiterating – these benefits were achieved by writing down five things people were grateful for each week. That is an incredibly simple and easy way to make yourself happier and healthier, and invest in your own development. 

How can I practice gratitude at work?

Now, you might be thinking it’s not possible to practice gratitude at work. Once you get caught up in the day-to-day routines of the workplace, practicing gratitude might seem like a silly little task that just takes up more of your time. 

But, what if you spent just five or ten minutes each week making a list of the things you are grateful for at work? This could even help you re-frame some of the challenging, or less-than-ideal, things about your work week.

For example, if you’re given feedback on some work that leads to a re-write of a long paper, instead of thinking “I really wish I didn’t have to re-work this paper”, re-frame the scenario. Try thinking, “I’m really glad I got this feedback before we took this to the client”.

You might find that taking a little time each week actually helps you do your best work – and will help you get the benefits of your best work as well.

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