Thanksgiving is the time of year when our thoughts turn to gratitude. We “give thanks” for all we have. Some families and friends have an annual ritual of sharing with each other what they are most grateful for. You could argue, however, that feeling grateful is important to us throughout the year, not just in November. And you’d be right. The power of gratitude goes beyond lowering levels of anxiety and stress. It turns out that giving and receiving thanks improves productivity in both the giver and the receiver, and research backs this up.

In a long-term study done at UC Davis, researchers found that participants who kept a gratitude list were more likely to make progress over a two-month period on an important academic, personal, or health-related goal as compared to those under other conditions. Expressing gratitude increases the release of the feel-good chemical, Dopamine, and raises our energy levels. Dopamine also plays a role in the brain’s complex motivation and reward system. With more energy, motivation, and joy, it makes sense that our productivity increases. Giving thanks and appreciation to others also benefits the receiver because it increases his or her levels of Dopamine, too, making it more likely that he or she will be more productive, give back, or pay it forward.

Practice gratitude in your life in these simple ways:

1)      Keep a journal. 2 or 3 sentences, a paragraph, or just one word. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you do it.

2)       Customize your thank you. The next time a co-worker helps you out, or the Fed Ex guy delivers on time, add some extra wording to your thank you. Maybe your co-worker always goes above and beyond to help you or the Fed Ex guy has a great attitude. Expressing some little detail about your experience really goes a long way and benefits both of you.

3)      Tell a client or co-worker why you enjoy working with them. Point out something simple and unique about your working relationship and express sincere thanks. (emphasis on sincere!)

4)      Notice something in your day that brings you joy. The sunrise, your pet, laughter, a hassle-free commute. It doesn’t really matter what you find as long as you feel and express your gratitude.

Thanksgiving, and all year-round, is the perfect time to practice gratitude and start making a habit of feeling grateful. Your increased energy will lead to more motivation and higher productivity in your own life and in others’.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)