Thanksgiving is next week (I hope this doesn’t surprise you!). It’s the one day each year set aside to give thanks. But in the midst of all of the activities, it’s easy to overlook the point of the whole day — to express gratitude. We often replace this day of gratitude with a day of busyness — preparations, cooking, cleaning, and Black Friday sales (that start on Thursday). Gratitude gets replaced by frustration and hostility toward strangers who want the last Elmo on the shelf.
In the midst of all the preparations and eating and cleaning up and shopping, it could be difficult for me to remember gratitude. But I’ve not only decided to make gratitude a priority on Thanksgiving, I’ve made gratitude one of my goals for the next year.
I’d like to invite you to join with me in making a resolution to express gratitude every day from this Thanksgiving until the next.
There are dozens of reasons why gratitude has been shown to improve your life. Here are three reasons why you should express gratitude all year long.
1. Gratitude increases your quality of life.
Expression of gratitude has been linked to several positive outcomes. It makes people happier, healthier, and more likely to exercise. It results in people being more emotionally healthy. It increases resiliency when hard situations occur. Expressing gratitude can help you relax. And it can increase the closeness you have with your spouse and kids.
All of these results of expressing gratitude ultimately equal greater peace. Gratitude leads to physical, emotional, mental and relational peace.
The quality of your life becomes better when you express gratitude.The quality of your life becomes better when you express gratitude. Click To Tweet
2. Gratitude increases your leadership effectiveness.
Expressing gratitude can help you in both relationships and results. Relationally, gratitude increases the morale of the people you lead. Ask yourself: would you rather work for a grateful leader or an ungrateful one?
Additionally, when you express specific gratitude to those you lead, they are more likely to repeat the behavior that you highlighted. Start expressing gratitude for the actions you want repeated, and you’re more likely to build your ideal culture.To build your ideal culture, express gratitude for the actions you want repeated. Click To Tweet
Gratitude also increases your results as a leader. One of the first responsibilities of a leader is to see and embrace reality. But many leaders who see reality only see the gap that exists between reality and their vision. This can result in an ungrateful attitude.
Leaders benefit from gratitude when they apply it to the reality that they see. Gratitude helps you see the bright spots of reality. It helps you embrace what is already going well. Gratitude helps you express thanks for those things that already exist (reality) in the midst of those things that do not (vision).
Gratitude isn’t meant to deny the gaps that exist. But you learn to see what is good in the midst of all circumstances. You can see that, even though there is much room for improvement, you have already made progress.
If you want to lead better, then start expressing gratitude.
3. Gratitude increases your productivity.
When I discovered this, I thought that this was too good to be true! Learning to express gratitude can actually make you more productive. How? There are three ways.
A. Gratitude makes you healthier.
Research shows that gratitude helps you relax. Gratitude increases the quality of your sleep and leads to less sick days. All of that adds up to greater productivity.
B. Gratitude increases your concentration.
The less grateful you are, the more your mind concentrates on the things that you’re not grateful for. All you can see are the bad things that you don’t want or that you lack.
When you’re grateful, you are better able to concentrate on the things that you’re actually doing rather than having half of your subconscious attention focused on the things you lack. Essential mental energy is freed.
C. Gratitude adds fuel to your goals.
Most high achievers that I know tend to see their lives through the lens of all the things that they didn’t accomplish. They reflect on the year and are disappointed by the 3 goals they didn’t complete rather than the 15 that they did.Want to supercharge your goals? Start expressing gratitude for your accomplishments. Click To Tweet
But when you start looking at your wins and expressing gratitude for the things you did accomplish, it adds momentum to your goals. You’re more likely to work harder and achieve more when you see what you accomplished. This doesn’t mean that you deny your losses. But you look at both the wins and losses.
There are dozens of other reasons that gratitude can enhance your life and make you a better leader. But these three reasons have convinced me that I’m going to focus on expressing gratitude for the next year. I’d love to invite you to join me. If you accept the challenge, tag me on Facebook or Twitter by using #gratitudechallenge.
In my next post, I’ll share 14 ways that you can practice gratitude with me all year long.
Question: What other benefits of gratitude have you experienced?