Practicing Gratitude

Posted November 4th, 2021 by Urban Legal Recruitment

More and more organizations are recognizing both the human and business potential that gratitude unlocks - greater happiness, improved health, stronger relationships, and increased employee loyalty and productivity. A Glassdoor survey indicated that 81% of employees will work harder when their boss shows appreciation.

While we tend to think of gratitude as a personal practice, it is becoming apparent that gratitude has a place in our workplace as well.  There are steps we can take individually, and encourage in others, that improve not only the lives of our employees, but also the organization’s culture and bottom line.

It’s easy to be grateful when all is going well, and practicing gratitude in times of widespread isolation from family, friends and coworkers, and during massive change in our routines, is far more challenging. 

What Good is Gratitude

For almost two decades, the social, physical and psychological benefits of gratitude have been documented in hundreds of studies. Gratitude, a feeling of appreciation or thanks, has proven beyond a doubt to be beneficial to our health and well-being. 

In What Good is Gratitude? (a 4-minute video), Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading scientific experts on the subject, briefly outlines the benefits of gratitude, which:

  • allows celebration of the present
  • blocks toxic emotions
  • increases stress resilience
  • strengthens social ties and self worth

“The practice of gratitude requires focused effort and commitment,” according to Stacy Cowan, Urban Legal Recruitment’s founder. “Gratitude affects not only our personal lives, but as a natural extension, our workplaces. Being grateful helps us connect to something greater than ourselves, and benefits not only the individual but also the organizations they work with.“

Cultivate the habit 

Gratitude is a practice that, when it becomes habitual, results in more positive emotions, improved health, increased resilience and more meaningful relationships. We refer to the ‘practice’ of gratitude because it requires a whole-hearted, deliberate approach. These are just some of the ways to begin your practice.

Don’t take anything for granted. Feeling safe and access to the basics in life like food, water, and shelter are not within everyone’s reach. Take the time to recognize and appreciate these as gifts.

Be mindful.

Take a few minutes daily to sit in stillness and picture in your mind five things you are grateful for. Making time to identify, acknowledge and feel gratitude rewires your brain and leads to increased happiness and empathy. 

Write it out.

Following your mindfulness session, write down in a journal the things you are grateful for that day. The act of documenting your positive thoughts further reinforces the rewiring of your brain. 

Do for others. Whether in the form of random acts of kindness or volunteering, helping other people can help remind us how much we have to be grateful for and has a direct and positive effect on how we feel. Martin Seligman, University of Pennsylvania professor, tested a number of variables and found volunteering is the most effective way to increase feelings of well-being, which supports gratitude.

Get moving.

Physical activity increases endorphins and puts you in a better space to recognize things to be grateful for. Regardless of your circumstances, you can start by appreciating the things your body can do. It’s not about your level of fitness, it is just about moving in any way you can and breathing. 

Get connected.

Connecting through nature, meditation and other spiritual practices, reminds us that we are part of something far greater than ourselves and opens the door to appreciation of ourselves, others, and the world.  

Share your feelings.

Expressing your appreciation for others not only makes them feel good, it also sets a positive example and reinforces the benefits in yourself. In a work environment, leaders can model gratitude by openly thanking team members and initiating conversations expressing gratitude for coworkers' support and strengths.

“Gratitude is about acknowledging the goodness in our lives. It costs nothing and takes very little time in light of the benefits,” says Stacy. “Gratitude in our personal lives results in happier, healthier and more productive lives. A culture of gratitude in organizations improves resilience, opportunities for growth and business outcomes.”

“‘Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive.’ This is one of my favourite Oprah Winfrey quotes and can be applied to any circumstance,” says Shona Tischner, Director of Executive Recruitment and Professional Support. 

Life. Career. Opportunity Awaits. If you have any questions, are considering a change, or just want to chat, we would love to hear from you.
At Urban Legal Recruitment, we have experienced, along with our clients, the impacts of COVID-19.  We’ve made the necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of our team members and our clients.