An Attitude of Gratitude
By Hannah Woit
When William Arthur Ward said, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it,” he probably wasn’t thinking about showing gratitude to others as a gift to yourself. But living a life of gratefulness can actually boost your own health and happiness.
Research has demonstrated that those who take stock of what they have to be grateful for in life tend to be happier. Focusing on gratitude has also been found to help with depression--in a study at Berkeley, a group of students receiving mental health counseling were asked to write weekly letters of gratitude to another person for 3 weeks. It seems you don’t even need to send the notes--only a minority of letter writers actually sent the letters, but still reported better health outcomes over time as compared to those receiving counseling who didn’t write letters.
Gratitude may also be the gift that keeps on giving. When the Berkeley researchers looked at the brain activity of the students using an fMRI scanner, the results they saw led them to surmise that you can make your brain more sensitive to gratitude over time, which could make you happier in the long run.
If writing isn’t your thing, you can also take a few minutes to meditate and/or visualize the things you are grateful for. If you work in Primary’s coworking space or offices, take a few minutes each day in the nap room or attend a meditation class to build a gratitude practice into your schedule.
Expressing thanks can also help your team’s performance at the office. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that participants who received a pep talk that included a thank you for their work were 50% more productive than ones who did not get a pep talk. If you are getting frustrated with the pace of a long term work project, focusing on gratitude can also make you more patient, other research indicates.
After all, as Eckhart Tolle has said, "Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance."