The Secret to Cultivating Gratitude at Work

If you like how gratitude makes you feel, you might want to bring those effects with you to work. Some big companies are experimenting with the idea.

Recent studies show that employee appreciation programs can increase team spirit, morale, and productivity.

On the other hand, the workplace can be a difficult environment for cultivating gratitude.

How can thankfulness coexist with competition and ambition? Do you feel comfortable expressing emotions in front of your colleagues?

Practicing gratitude at work may require taking some risks, but the results are worth it.

Start with these ideas that will help you find more opportunities to count your blessings and say thank you at work.

Cultivating Gratitude on Your Own

You control your attitude and experiences. Regardless of your job position or industry, there are many things you can do to feel more grateful.

Try these strategies:

1. Pay attention.

Appreciating your coworkers starts with getting to know them. Make time for small talk and follow up to see how things turn out when they have a sick child or they're buying a new house.

2. Remember special occasions.

Congratulate others on birthdays and work anniversaries. Wish your colleagues a Merry Christmas or Happy Diwali.

3. Communicate in person.

Thanking others in person makes a deeper impression than sending an email. Drop by their office or invite them out to lunch.

4. Be inclusive.

Reach out to employees who tend to be less visible. Acknowledge the cleaning crew and think about how their efforts make your life more pleasant.

5. Personalize your approach.

Each of us has our own preferences for how we like to be thanked.

You may enjoy public praise while your colleague would rather receive a pat on the back in private or be offered an afternoon off.

6. Keep a journal.

If you're struggling to come up with something nice to say, try writing down your positive experiences as they happen. You can use a notebook or an app on your phone.

7. Bring in treats.

Give your office mates donuts or chips and salsa. Sharing food is one way to develop relationships.

Cultivating Gratitude with Your Colleagues

Help your employer encourage a culture of gratitude. Do your part to help yourself and others feel more appreciated.

Use these techniques to encourage gratitude at work:

1. Build a website.

Go public with your gratitude. Ask your boss about creating a website page or bulletin board to post messages of appreciation.

2. Speak up at meetings.

Open or close staff meetings by inviting the team to thank anyone who made a special contribution recently.

Another helpful item for the agenda might be a few minutes to meditate about gratitude or empathy.

3. Throw parties.

Get together to celebrate milestones like completing a major project or landing a new client.

Recognize the individual and combined efforts that go into each success. Make a toast or hand out awards.

4. Exchange gifts.

Thoughtful gifts can express gratitude even if your budget is limited. Give each team member a little something.

Make it a habit to return from vacations and business trips with a box of salt water taffy from the Jersey shore or chocolates from Belgium.

5. Share support.

The most authentic and meaningful way to show gratitude may be to help your coworkers out on a consistent basis.

Lend a hand when someone is facing a tight deadline. Volunteer to cover their tasks while they take a mental health day.

Focus on the positive aspects of your job and let your coworkers know how they brighten up your working life.

Experiencing more gratitude at work will increase your job satisfaction and may even help you to advance in your career.

Worry Less and Do More. What Can You Accomplish Today?

You only have so much time and energy to spend each day. It doesn't make a lot of sense to exhaust your resources on anything that you can't influence.

Worrying about the rain won't make it stop. Being annoyed by the fact that you're only 5' 2" tall isn't going to cause you to grow.

However, we spend much of our time and energy in negative emotional states over issues that are beyond our control.

Most of the negative thoughts you have each day are analogous to being upset over the weather.

There's simply nothing you can do about it. You're only upsetting yourself needlessly.

There are really only two things you can control:

1. Your actions
2. Your thoughts

The time you spend 'doing' and 'thinking' is all that you can manipulate. You can choose what food you put in your mouth and how much you exercise.

You can choose whether you watch TV or clean the house. You control whether you apologize to someone or not.

You can choose to think happy thoughts or thoughts that make you unhappy.

When you focus on what you can influence, you'll find that you can accomplish so much more!

Use these strategies to keep your attention on what you can do today:

1. At the beginning of each hour, ask yourself how you can best spend the next 60 minutes.

How can you use the next hour to your advantage? Asking this question will keep your mind in a productive mode.

Ask yourself what you can do today that will matter.

2. When you catch yourself worrying, ask yourself if this is something you can control.

If you can't do anything about it, steer your attention to something else. Learn to either focus on solutions or to let go of the situation.

This approach just takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets!

3. Be aware of your goals.

Without something to point your focus toward, you're more likely to spend your time worrying about things beyond your ability to influence.

Knowing your goals will help you determine how to spend your time wisely.

4. Know the difference between influence and control.

For example, you can influence others, but you can't control them. Use your influence wisely but recognize the limits.

5. Center your thinking on solutions.

Are you seeking answers or wallowing in your problems? Mentally rehashing the past accomplishes little.

Using your incredible brain power to solve challenges is a great use of your time.

When you catch yourself thinking too much, ask yourself if you're thinking wisely.

6. Review each day.

Each evening, reflect on your day. How much did you accomplish? Were your thoughts and actions productive? Or did you waste time on things beyond your control?

When you spend time on this important activity, you'll notice your behavior and choices beginning to shift.

Much of life is beyond your control. From the decisions made by the CEO of your company to global warming, there are many things in life that you can't control to a significant degree.

However, there are a few things that you can control completely. This is where your time, thoughts, and energy can do the most good.

Avoid focusing on circumstances that you simply can't influence.

Why upset yourself further when no solution exists? The greatest gift you have is your attention. Put it to the best possible use.

Learn more here in my online self help super-site about how to manage stress to become happier and more successful in your life.

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