The Power of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to consider how gratitude can change our lives and our hearts. It might be a routine for your family around the Thanksgiving table to share what they are thankful for this past year. Practicing gratitude is something that is not just a once a year activity. There is research to show that when you practice gratitude, you become more resilient to stress by drawing strength from positivity, goodness, and joy. Studies show that writing down daily experiences that fill you with wonder or joy can boost happiness by 25%.

Sarah Wilson, author of First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety, suggests having a daily practice of naming five things you are grateful for. Once you start focusing on those things, your brain starts looking for more blessings, building joy “muscles” in the brain. Make this a routine when you go to bed at night or first thing in the morning before starting your day.

Brian Tracy, best-selling author and speaker, says we can often get stuck in an “Ain’t it awful?” scenario. He suggests using the 4 A’s of Gratitude to pull yourself out:

  • Appreciation
  • Approval (i.e. Praise)
  • Admiration
  • Attention (i.e. active listening)

You can use this tool at your workplace when teams or individuals are needing encouragement over a change process or trying to sustain a change. It could be used when you are trying to improve employee engagement, boost staff morale, or change a culture. Imagine the power of gratitude in navigating through difficult times.

Using gratitude is a tool available to all of us. Remember it will improve resiliency, add joy, and increase happiness. We just have to use it. Be thankful!

Debra Harrison
About the author

Debra Harrison was the Chief Nursing Officer for Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida from 2006–2016. She retired in May 2016 and joined MEDI as an Executive Coach early 2017.
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