Do you ever wonder about the by-product of the “hecticness”? Why the dramatic increase in disciplines such as meditation and yoga? I think its fairly simple to recognize that we all need more time to live, enjoy life and most of all, set aside some time to appreciate just “being”. This brings me to the topic of gratitude.
Gratitude-a word, yes of course but a “verb”-not usually. We need to learn, as a society, to put the word “gratitude” into action. An inexhaustible amount of research has been done on the meaning of gratitude. According to Dr.Robert Emmons, a professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis,”(Gratitude) is a “chosen attitude”. We must be willing to recognize and acknowledge that we are the recipients of an unearned benefit.” Essentially, according to Emmons, we need to develop an attitude of gratitude which can be difficult. People must choose to overcome the mentality of the sense of entitlement and deservedness. The results of doing so have shown to have a significant and positive impact on relationships, academics, tragedy and crisis and even energy level. In additon to being a positive emotion, living a life of gratitude has proven to have significant health benefits as well such as: stronger immune systems; higher levels of positive thoughts and emotions; more joy, optimism and happiness; acting with more generosity and compassion towards others and feeling less lonely and isolated (Greater Good). Similarly, and with reference to the “living” workplace, according to Greater Good Science Center Science Director Emiliana Simon-Thomas, “The benefits of gratitude go beyond a sense of self-worth, self-efficacy, and trust between employees. When analyzed data from our interactive gratitude journal Thnx4.org, she found the greater the number of gratitude experiences people had on a given day, the better they felt. People who kept at it for at least two weeks showed significantly increased happiness, greater satisfaction with life, and higher resilience to stress; this group even reported fewer headaches and illnesses.”
We need, as a workplace and by extension, a society in general, to pay closer attention to the “humanity factor” we have somehow placed on the “back-burner” in our busy lives and hectic workplaces. The true happiness comes from the intangibles and the continual practice of gratitude has not only had a tremendously positive impact on our day-to-day lives but as illustrated, if we all made an effort to excel in simple and random acts of kindness, our quality of life would increase dramatically!