Gratitude in the Workplace


The Gift of Gratitude


In modern society today, we are constantly presented with messages telling us of ways and techniques to achieve optimal happiness. However, our own happiness and that of others can be achieved through the simple, yet effective action of gratitude. Simply, gratitude is the art of appreciation and thankfulness; both for certain aspects of one’s own life as well as giving gratitude spontaneously to others, be it, in the workplace, at home or in social settings.


What is important to remember when it comes to gratitude is that it occurs with no obligation of reciprocity. To foster gratitude successfully, one must exchange and practice thanks with no need for return. In this sense, gratitude is about promoting a positive culture in all four areas of one hauora – the spiritual, the emotional, the physical and the mental. Gratitude has a domino effect, with one display of it leading to increased positive emotions, loyalty, productivity and quality of life. So what is stopping you from giving the gift of gratitude to yourself or others today?


Ways to Give:


1. Gratitude Journal

The most well known form of expressing gratitude is through a gratitude journal, such as The Three Good Things. In this exercise, individuals are encouraged to write down three things they are grateful for, at certain time intervals.


In this example, individuals are challenged to zero in and focus on aspects of their life they are grateful for on a day to day basis, be it from people to experiences to materialistic possessions.


Focusing on such aspects in life has many positive effects on one’s outlook on life. Studies have found that by regularly engaging in a gratitude journal, one’s long term well-being increases, moral behaviour is stimulated, social bonds are both formed and strengthened, as well as negative emotions such as angry and envy being inhibited.


2. Counting blessings versus burdens

In a similar way to the gratitude journal, counting one’s blessings is also a proven method for improving gratitude at an individual level. In this exercise, individuals are prompted to think about what they are thankful for in life, instead of focussing on the burdens and hassles.


By focussing one’s attention to the blessings in life, one is able to savour the positive emotions and situations and receive the maximum positive stimulation from such events. To the same extent, regular use of such a method has been shown to lead to increased optimism and life satisfaction, alongside decreased negative effect.


To be grateful is something individuals are told from a young age and in social settings giving thanks to others for materialistic objects is easy. The workplace is merely an extension of such social interactions, so gratitude, at a societal and individual level, should be just as free to practice and gift.


In a workplace or any team environment, the individual is only as good as the team or others surrounding them; therefore, it is important to start from within and work to a larger scale to foster a prosperous culture of gratitude.



References/Further Reading:


Fehr, R., Fulmer, A., Awtrey, E., & Miller, J. (2016). The Grateful Workplace: A Multilevel Model of Gratitude in Organizations. Academy of Management Review, 63(2).


Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.


Randolph, S. A. (2017). The Power of Gratitude. Workplace Health and Safety, 65(3), 144. DOI: 10.1177/2165079917697217


Winslow, C., Hu, X., Kaplan, S., & Li, Y. (2017). Accentuate the Positive: Which Discrete Positive Emotions Predict Which Work Outcomes? The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 20(2), 74-89.


Di Fabio, A., Palazzeschi., & Bucci, O. Gratitude in Organizations: A Contribution for Healthy Organizational Contexts. Frontiers in Psychology.


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