November 14, 2022

Gratitude is not just a buzzword—it can transform your well-being at work

My manager at my first job taught me to create a gratitude folder in my inbox. She didn’t actually call it a gratitude folder, but that’s what it grew into. Her intention was more logistical in nature—save a paper trail of accomplishments and positive feedback to reference in performance reviews. Useful for sure, but I discovered that it was also a wonderful way to keep track of the good that can be so easy to lose sight of. Plus, reviewing words of kindness is a surefire pick-me-up when you’re feeling down in the dumps. 

We’re taught from a young age that expressing thanks is the polite thing to do, but intentionally cultivating gratitude is so much more than adhering to a socio-cultural norm. Since we are hardwired to give more weight to negative experiences than positive ones, deliberately focusing our attention on positivity helps us create a healthy balance with life’s challenges. Studies show that practicing gratitude leads to increased happiness, higher life satisfaction, stronger relationships, less stress, and better mental and physical health. It also has the power to transform your workplace well-being. Incorporating gratitude practices into your workday helps you maintain a positive outlook, boost motivation, decrease stress levels, and make more meaningful connections with others. 

Here are three simple ways that you can connect to gratitude in your work life to improve your health, happiness and well-being in the workplace and beyond. 

Recognize others. Take a mindful pause in your day for appreciation. Often we get so consumed in our own routines and the busy nature of our jobs that we can overlook the accomplishments of others, or don’t create time to express our appreciation. An act of gratitude doesn’t need to be a grand display—sending a personalized thank you email, sharing kudos on a Slack channel, or verbally providing positive feedback are easy mood-boosters for both you and the recipient. 

Celebrate little wins. You don’t need to wait for a big reason to celebrate an accomplishment for yourself, or your team. Crossing an item off your to-do list or reaching a project milestone are valid reasons to cultivate gratitude and experience greater joy in everyday moments. Treat yourself to a well-deserved break, or invite your co-workers to take part in a virtual celebration. You may also want to consider creating a gratitude folder in your inbox to reflect back on positive moments and give yourself a pat on the back every once in a while. 

Write down what you’re thankful for. When you wrap up your workday, create balance from stressors by noticing a few things that went well. Try using a gratitude journal to list three things you are grateful for today. It can be as simple as receiving a supportive smile from a teammate, meeting a deadline, or taking the next step forward on a project. Documenting the good is a great way to turn a bad day into a better one, and maintain a positive outlook whatever challenges you may face. 

There’s a lot of buzz about the benefits of practicing gratitude and the proven impact on health and wellness. Since November is home to Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, and it happens to be National Gratitude Month in America, now is a better time than any to give gratitude a try. Check out eM Life’s Grateful & Happy on-demand program today. 

Written by Annie Slaby