Gratitude: the Key to Happiness

This time of year is a good time to reflect on the great things in our lives and to practice gratitude for them. Taking the time during the holiday season to practice gratitude can have long-lasting positive effects on many aspects of our lives. An attitude of gratitude can help you live a more positive life inwardly and outwardly – in remaining positive during tough situations, in practicing compassion for people we encounter in the world, in fostering strong and healthy relationships, and can even have positive impact on our health overall.

Expressing gratitude for the people in our lives is deeply important as well. Friends, family, and even coworkers and employees can be a key factor in all people involved living happier lives. But there is no reason to limit gratitude practice to the holiday season; telling that employee who always shows up ten minutes early and ready to take on the day that their actions help you meet each day with a positive attitude could brighten their day and help them carry their own burdens with grace far beyond the workplace. Here are a few quick ways to show gratitude for the people in your world, both during the holidays and throughout the year.

1. Praise above-and-beyond behavior. That coworker or employee who shows up early every day deserves to hear what it is about their actions that help lift the weight. Say it out loud, say it in a quick email, but let them know you’re thankful.

2. If they’ve got a particularly great sense of humor, don’t leave it at just laughing at their jokes. Last Tuesday, that one-liner in the hall turned your day around and kept you smiling.

3. Bring in a treat for the whole office (or the whole household). Be conscious of dietary restrictions, but bring in cookies (or fruit, or a special catering cart) and tell your team you’re grateful for all of their hard work.

4. If you can swing it, give them an early leave day. Surprise them with it, and use that moment to remind them you recognize their dedication and that it’s very much appreciated.

5. Say thanks. A great practice is to count, on any given days, each opportunity you have to say thank you. You might be surprised how many opportunities you have. Take them! Everyone will benefit.

For more great perspective on workplace happiness, check out this post by Liz Jazwiec:
Remember, gratitude goes a long way, whether you’re the lowest on the workplace totem pole or the King of the world. May your holidays be full of gratitude.