Thank You! No, really: Thank You.

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA. It’s an event that calls our attention away from difficulties and encourages us to reflect instead on our blessings, what’s good, and the value of our supportive relationships.

It turns out that giving thanks is good for us. Really good! It’s not just good because we can check off the obligatory dinner with extended family (for those blessed enough to have one). Not because of the gluttony and binge football watching that many associate with the holiday. It turns out that a flood of positive psychology research now proves that focusing on what’s good, and expressing gratitude for those blessings, changes our brain. Why should you care? Because a grateful brain improves job performance and satisfaction with life! 

Grateful people:

  • Have stronger relationships
  • Are more resilient
  • Sleep better
  • Have less anxiety and depression
  • Have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, and better physical health
  • Are happier

That’s right -- grateful people are happier! There’s another body of work demonstrating the benefits of happiness. Happy people sell more. Happy people are more creative and open-minded.

If you’re in sales or marketing, gratitude will help you up your game. If you’re in the business of convincing others of the value of your ideas, gratitude and happiness will make you better at your job. Do you manage a team? The develop a habit of being grateful – and saying so.

So how do you do the gratitude thing? It’s easy. Start by keeping a gratitude journal. For as long as you can, write down one new thing each day for which you’re grateful. Some additional exercises suggested by the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center:

  • Three Good Things: Start each day writing down three good things that happened. Note how you were feeling then – and now.
  • Gratitude Letter: Write a letter expressing thanks, and deliver it in person.
  • Mental Subtraction of Relationships: Deepen your appreciation of someone by imagining your life without them.

So why not think about this Thanksgiving not just as a holiday, but as an inflection point in your life? Make a commitment to start training your brain to see the good first, to recognize your blessings, and to help you feel grateful for all that life has given you. You’ll be happier, and it’s sure to be good for business.

Thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end of this post. I’m grateful that you were open to these ideas. I’m grateful that we’re walking together. Thank you. No really: Thank you!

If you’d like more information on the benefits of a gratitude practice and the UC Berkeley research behind it, visit their website, Greater Good in Action.


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