April 2019: Gratitude

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We often talk about gratitude once a year, around Thanksgiving, but the cold, snowy days before spring are as good a time as any to talk about a trait that has a host of physical and psychological benefits.

Gratitude, recognizing and showing appreciation for the good things in ourselves, others, and the world around us, is a trait that some of us are more prone to engaging than others. Gratitude practices, like keeping a journal of things you're grateful for, or communicating to the people in your life that you appreciate them, can help to strengthen that trait (which as been shown to improve immune function, lower blood pressure, increase sleep quality, and even boost mood and happiness*).

For one, these practices force you to take stock of the things in your life that are positive and focus your energy on them. They also have a social component, in that helping others is beneficial to a team, and appreciation for that work can help strengthen social bonds and improve group morale.

Helpful Tip: Gratitude practices are meant to help you remember and focus in on the positive aspects of your life, they are not meant to shame you for not always being able to do so. Being grateful doesn't mean not feeling sad or overwhelmed because you have positive things in your life, rather, it means allowing yourself a moment to experience and appreciate fully the things and individuals that bring you joy, regardless of your current emotional state.

*https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/is_gratitude_good_for_your_health

Articles

How to Practice Gratitude

"There are multiple ways to practice the strategy of gratitude and it would be wise to choose what works best for you.  When the strategy loses its freshness or meaningfulness, don’t hesitate to make a change in how, when, and how often you express yourself."

How Gratitude Can Foster Engagement

This article walks you through the ways that gratitude can build workplace engagement, and gives 5 tips on how to bring gratitude into the workplace.