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How To Uplevel Your Work And Life With The Power Of Gratitude

Dogs. Flowers. Friendships. Red wine. Rain. These are a few of my favorite things. 🎼


They’re just a few of countless, exquisite things for which I am grateful.


How about you?


Gratitude is a deep appreciation for and recognition of the kindness, generosity and positive moments we have experienced in life. It involves acknowledging and valuing the good that has come our way, regardless of their scale or significance.


Considered a fundamental human emotion and mental state that can lead to greater well-being and an improved outlook on life, gratitude even has the ability to enhance our work. In fact, its impact is so transformative, it has its very own day.



World Gratitude Day

Celebrated globally on September 21, World Gratitude Day was established in 1965 to encourage people to pause, recognize, experience and express gratitude. The day reminds us that gratitude is not a fleeting emotion, but a practice that can profoundly impact multiple aspects of work and life.

The idea behind World Gratitude Day is to inspire individuals and communities to reflect on the things we are thankful for, both big and small. Celebrations vary widely, from keeping gratitude journals and expressing appreciation to others to volunteering and practicing mindfulness to foster a sense of thankfulness.


The day also reminds us of the power of gratitude and its potential to enhance individual and collective well-being. It’s so effective in this capacity because one of gratitude’s innate superpowers is its accessibility. It’s not some expensive, exclusive solution set aside for an elite few. It’s not something we have to save up money for and search far and wide to find. It’s a tool any one of us can turn to whenever we need it, and we can cultivate for free.



Why Our Mind and Body Love Gratitude

While gratitude has been considered beneficial for centuries, it hasn’t been until recent years that significant research has explained why. Gratitude triggers several neurological and psychological processes in our brain that contribute to increased happiness and well-being:

  • Release of Neurotransmitters: Gratitude releases certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine and serotonin, the “feel-good" chemicals that help regulate mood and happiness. When we experience gratitude, our brain releases more dopamine and serotonin, leading to feelings of joy and contentment.

  • Reduction of Stress: Gratitude activates the brain's hypothalamus, which regulates stress. When we feel grateful, it can help reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol, which, in turn, promotes a sense of calm and relaxation.

  • Enhanced Reward System: Gratitude activates the brain's reward center, reinforcing the behavior of being thankful and making us more likely to continue practicing gratitude.

  • Positive Feedback Loop: Expressing gratitude encourages a positive feedback loop in the brain. When we consciously focus on the things we're thankful for, our brain becomes more adept at recognizing and appreciating positive experiences. This can lead to a shift in our overall mindset.

  • Increased Connectivity: Gratitude has been shown to increase connectivity in the brain, particularly in areas associated with empathy, social bonding and interpersonal relationships. When we express gratitude, we're more likely to build and strengthen social connections, which can be a significant source of happiness and well-being.

  • Improved Mental Health: Regularly practicing gratitude has been associated with a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety. By focusing on positive aspects of life, we can counteract negative thought patterns and enhance your overall mental health.

  • Enhanced Perspective: It’s challenging for gratitude and fear to coexist. Gratitude can help us reframe our perspective, encouraging us to look beyond difficulties and challenges, highlighting the silver linings and lessons within them.


Why Our Work Loves Gratitude Practicing gratitude also has several positive effects on our work life and career:

  • Improved Relationships: Expressing gratitude toward our colleagues fosters positive relationships because when people feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to collaborate effectively, communicate openly and support one another. This leads to a more harmonious and productive work environment.

  • Increased Job Satisfaction: Gratitude can enhance our job satisfaction by helping us focus on the positive aspects of our work. Recognizing and appreciating the opportunities, challenges and accomplishments in our work can make us feel more content and fulfilled in our role.

  • Enhanced Workplace Culture: When we practice gratitude at work, we contribute to a culture of appreciation and recognition. This can create a more positive and inclusive workplace, leading to higher employee retention and greater loyalty.

  • Boosted Motivation and Productivity: Gratitude can increase our motivation and productivity. When we're grateful for the opportunities and resources provided by our job, we're more likely to be engaged and committed to our tasks, leading to improved performance for us and our organization.

  • Effective (and Mindful) Leadership: Leaders who practice gratitude are seen as more approachable and empathetic. And their gratitude toward their team members inspires trust and loyalty, fostering a positive work environment.

  • Stress Reduction: Gratitude can help reduce workplace stress. When we focus on the positive aspects of our job, we tend to find it easier to manage challenges and setbacks because gratitude fosters resilience.

  • Career Advancement: Expressing gratitude and appreciation to mentors or those who have helped us in our career can strengthen your professional network. This can lead to new opportunities, career growth and increased support in achieving our professional goals.

  • Conflict Resolution: Gratitude can be a powerful tool in resolving workplace conflicts. When we acknowledge and appreciate the perspectives and contributions of others, it becomes easier to find common ground and work through disagreements constructively.

  • Innovation and Creativity: A positive and grateful mindset can enhance our creativity and innovation. Grateful individuals are more open to new ideas and approaches. This leads to creative solutions and a willingness to explore new possibilities in our work. Gratitude also boosts our decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

Incorporating gratitude into our work life doesn't have to be complex. Simple actions like expressing appreciation, saying thank you and recognizing others’ efforts can go a long way in reaping these benefits.



Feeling Grateful Yet?

Our first step in experiencing gratitude is to spend time identifying all the things in work and life that fill us with gratitude. Write them down. Big and little. The obvious and the subtle.


Our next step is to choose one item on the list and spend time thinking about it. Picture it in fine detail, whether it’s one of your cats, the view out your office window or autumn leaves. What do you like about it? How does being around it or experiencing it make you feel? What recent or long ago memory do you have associated with it? Spending time really feeling in to the person, object, animal or experience helps us deepen our connection to the gratitude and experience even greater, longer lasting benefits and joy. Do the same with another item on your list and another. Before long your gratitude quotient will be soaring!

For you, I am so grateful. Happy World Gratitude Day!


 


Mindful Reimagineur

As a Mindful Dream-Job Career Coach, Owner of Planet Reimagine and with Manhattan as her backdrop, Trie thrives when collaborating with others to reimagine their life, work, leadership or organization. She developed and taught Career Success Preparation for The Media School at Indiana University, where she taught 21 classes. A 30-year vegetarian, adopted-dog mom and travel-happy meditator and yogi, Trie is a former CIO and COO and founder of Embark and The Love Monday Method. She has two Master's degrees, six coaching certifications and a certificate in Executive Leadership from Cornell University. Connect with Trie at trie@reimaginemonday.com.



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