Thanksgiving and the approaching holiday season give us the opportunity to reflect on the many things we are grateful for. More importantly, it’s a time to take stock of our own gratitude quotient.
Practice gratitude and you will be directing your attention and awareness on what you want.
Do you want happy customers? Do you want satisfied employees? And how about you? Don’t you want to realize happiness and satisfaction?
You can increase your happiness by 25% through frequent gratitude, according to Dr. Robert Emmons in Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Research shows we would be a happier, less stressed, less depressed, and better-rested society if we regularly practice gratitude.
Key word here: regularly.
Adopt a chronic attitude of thankfulness.
“Feeling gratitude must be ingrained into your personality, and you must frequently acknowledge and be thankful for the role other people play in your happiness,” writes Dr. Emmons, a UC Davis professor who has been studying gratitude since 1998.
Research shows that people with a “gratitude attitude” are generally kinder, more positive and creative, achieve more goals, and have stronger social relationships.
Feeling the urge to up your gratitude quotient yet? There are many ways to practice extending gratitude and impacting your life as well as the lives of others.
Acknowledge your need of others: Practice humility.
“Gratitude implies humility — a recognition that we could not be who we are or where we are in life without the contributions of others,” Dr. Emmons explains.
If you’ve been in a meeting where your colleague readily accepts all the hard work as his or her own, or you can count on one hand the number of individuals who have written you a note of thanks, then you’ve experienced the gratitude deficit.
In contemporary America, this is often the sad norm. Outside of our own happiness, gratitude isn’t often discussed. “We have become entitled, resentful, ungrateful and forgetful,” Dr. Emmons said.
You can change the climate of your business and interpersonal surroundings with many simple ways to show your gratitude.
- Get in the habit of dropping a weekly thank-you note to customers or employees. You could establish the annual practice of sending Thanksgiving cards.
- Give a gift certificate or discount certificate to a loyal customer or an exceptional employee.
- Host a customer appreciation event or an employee celebration. Throw a holiday party, a business anniversary party, or organize an informal meet-up at a local establishment.
- Keep customers’ or employees birthdays on file and mail cards or a small gift.
- Drop in personally on your best customers with a surprise gift.
- Phone a junior staff member to recognize them for all their behind-the-scenes effort.
- Tweet an animated GIF thank you note with your follower’s Twitter handle like Burberry did in their #thanksamillion effort. Using a GIF has the benefit of being a never-ending gesture of gratitude due to its looping file format.
Your actions speak louder than words.
However you choose to share the wealth of gratitude, be sincere. Practicing gratitude can be both morally and intellectually challenging, as Dr. Emmons points out.
In his book he offers ten ways to instill gratitude into your life, including a gratitude journal, turning the negative into positives – choosing to see the glass half-full, and imagining what life would be like without a particular co-worker, client, or associate.
Watching inspiring videos, like this one by Louis Schwartzberg on TEDtalk, can help give you a gratitude boost.
A simple thank you is a giant step ahead of today’s competition.
Never underestimate the power of a personal thank you. Genuine thanks tend to get lost a midst the push for social media strategies, customer rewards, and marketing plans. Make your business a better place through an honest, personal thank you to a valued partner or vendor, a devoted social media fan, or your overlooked small customer.
Grasping the concept of true gratitude can perhaps be best understood through the eyes of one who’s worked hard to achieve “happyness,” as Will Smith portrays in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. We can all begin by working hard to show our gratitude in any amount, whenever we can, with everyone we meet.
Thank you for reading this! And a very Happy Thanksgiving to you.
GIF courtesy of Just for the Halibut.