What could gratitude and happiness possibly have to do with success on the job? Everything. There’s plenty of proof that there are health benefits to feeling grateful and happy; such feelings can reduce stress, boost your immune system, open your mind to new possibilities and make it easier to be kind and creative. There’s also evidence that feeling good can be ‘contagious,’ and positively impact those around you.
Developing a “practice” of gratitude and happiness can create positive changes personally that can lead to positive changes all throughout a business.
If you intentionally set out to feel grateful and happy every day, the benefits will ripple both inward and outward, enhancing your well being, and the lives of your co-workers and customers. This translates into a healthier more positive work environment that can lead to increased profits. Why? Evidence abounds that links employee happiness and customer happiness.
Here are seven tips for developing a practice of gratitude and happiness:
1) Write a Letter of Gratitude – Identify someone who has made a difference in your life. This could be a mentor, manager, someone in another department, a co-worker from a former job, a customer… anyone who has impacted you in a positive way. Then write that person a letter, specifically thanking them for the way they touched your life. It could be that that person encouraged you in a career decision, helped you through a difficult time, coached you, taught you new skills, or perhaps saw something in you that no one else did. Send it out or, better yet, deliver it in person and notice how terrific you feel. This works like magic, creating happiness for you and the recipient. Evidence from the field of Positive Psychology tells us that even one letter can have a long-term effect on happiness. (And if you do one a month – wow!)
2) Create a Gratitude Journal – Write in your personal Gratitude Journal (or Blessings Book) nightly and you’ll have sweet dreams. Write down three good things that happened that day and why. Create a “departmental” Gratitude Journal and you’ll help build a dream team. Keep it in an easily accessible spot in your department, and encourage everyone on your team to write at least one line daily about something for which they’re grateful. This simple exercise in focusing people on something that makes them happy and appreciative gets them to be on the lookout for more of the same. Being focused on what’s positive will have a powerful impact on the way co-workers interact and the way they treat customers as well.
3) Breathe – That’s right: Stop what you’re doing and breathe deeply. As you do this, think about something you deeply appreciate, or imagine your heart smiling. Even the busiest person in the world can make time for this powerful mood-altering and stress-relieving exercise. Most people don’t realize that the mind can’t tell the difference between that which is real and that which is vividly imagined. If you recall a pleasant and calming scene and breathe deeply and fully into it, your body will relax as if you are there.
4) Rethink the way you open staff meetings. Before you get down to business, you begin every meeting by having each person in the room share something for which they’re grateful. This creates camaraderie and inspires creativity; it literally gets everyone on the same ‘wavelength.’ Every emotion has a vibration, getting everyone on the vibration of appreciation gets the team to the heart of the matter quickly. End each meeting the same way. Ask, “What’s one thing about today’s meeting that you appreciate.”
5) Send “Thank You” cards to customers, employees and suppliers. Make sure they’re personal and handwritten whenever possible. Don’t worry if you don’t think you’re a ‘great writer.’ Simply thanking customers or other stakeholders for their business goes a long way.
6) Send Thanksgiving gifts instead of traditional holiday presents – With this simple shift of gears, you can really stand out from your competitors.
7) Genuinely thank employees on a regular basis-If you’re a manager, make it a point to tell each and every employee what it is about them that you’re specifically grateful for. You can focus on a special characteristic you really appreciate – a sense of humor, a can-do attitude – or actions they took that made a difference in the company.
Remember, what you focus on expands. Focus on the good and you’ll get more of it.