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Thanksgiving: It Works Around the Boardroom Table Too – Gratitude

Gratitude isn’t just for the dinner table anymore
workplace-gratitude
Try it with your colleagues — whether you bring in pumpkin spice lattes and cranberry cupcakes for the meeting or not.

People get over the slight discomfort pretty quickly and soon realize that showing gratitude and appreciation isn’t specifically a religious act – it’s a human act that resonates with almost everyone.

As usual, the leader should go first, with a brief, bright and tight, well-though-out 60 seconds of key contributions from the team she or he is thankful for. Ideally someone else has been primed to go second – it doesn’t have to be the next in the chain of command; it can be a trusted assistant or a friendly colleague. And from there it’s pretty much automatic – everyone goes for 30 to 60 seconds.

Nothing grandiose is required – just sincerity and — ideally — some specificity. For example “I am so appreciative that Dana and Jason pitched in on that short-notice deadline we were given by Client XYZ” works very nicely. By contrast, “I just love all you guys – I’m so blessed” is rather too general and invites some cynicism.

But what’s the point of all this appreciative effort – is it worth it? In a word, yes. Here’s some more information.

Dan Mager says we shortchange our well-being by reserving gratitude just for Thanksgiving. Cultivating conscious contact with gratitude is a skill, and we can profit immensely by learning and practicing it.

Gratitude is about feeling and expressing appreciation: for all we’ve received, all that we have (however little it may be), and for all that has not befallen us. It functions as an antidote to what we want but don’t have and aversion to what we have but don’t want. Gratitude is the opposite of being discontented.

Sometimes we have to work harder to locate the positive and unearth its gifts (and sometimes these become manifest only in retrospect)—but if we make the time and invest the energy to look closely and search consciously, we will find them. There is always something to be grateful for, no matter how negative or desperate things may seem.

According to numerous scientific studies, gratitude:
– Facilitates contentment
– Improves mood by enhancing feelings of optimism
– Reduces anxiety
– Promotes physical health
– Enhances sleep
– Strengthens relationships
– Encourages compassion and generosity

Dr. Robert Emmons, Ph.D., a gratitude specialist, explains that grateful people take better care of themselves than their less grateful counterparts do. This includes adopting healthy habits, such as eating more nutritious meals and getting regular physical examinations.