Living In Gratitude: Grateful Leaders

Gratitude is not a limited resource, nor is it costly. It is as abundant as air. We breathe it in but forget to exhale.

– Marshall Goldsmith

Being appreciated is correlated with increased performance and engagement at work. Yet, 59% of employees state they’ve never had a manager who “truly appreciated” them, and 53% said they would stay longer at their place of employment if they felt their work was more appreciated.

So, if people like and want to be appreciated, why aren’t more managers expressing gratitude for their employees?

A 2018 study might explain part of the issue. Researchers ask people to write letters of appreciation and then predict how that letter would be received. The researchers then asked the recipients how they felt after reading the letter.

The letter writers dramatically underestimated the positive impact their letter would have and also believed that the recipients would feel awkward about receiving such a letter.

A recent HBR article discusses the outcomes of research conducted around power positions and the expression of gratitude.

They wanted to answer the questions:

Does having power (e.g., being a manager or executive) influence feelings and expressions of gratitude? If so, why?

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Living In Gratitude: Gratitude Literally Alters Our Heart & Brain

An article authored by Arjun Walla shared some interesting scientific information backing what we always knew: gratitude literally impacts us on a molecular level.

According to the article, scientists have discovered that feelings of gratitude can actually change your heart and brain. Feeling gratitude can also be a great tool for overcoming depression and anxiety. Furthermore, scientists have discovered that the heart sends signals to the brain.

There are those people with seemingly very little who are overwhelmed with gratitude for a warm meal, rudimentary shelter, or some used clothing while so many of us who have all so much are always in search of more things to make us happy and fulfilled rather than appreciating what we have.

In a world where emotional intelligence isn’t really taught in school and the importance is put on striving for high grades, it’s no wonder so many people have difficulty feeling grateful. This is especially understandable if you’ve been brought up in the western world, which is full of consumerism and competition, a world where we’re constantly made to feel we are lacking so we need to strive for more.

Says Walla, happiness is a matter of perspective, and in a world where we are constantly made to feel like we are lacking and always ‘wanting’ more, it can be difficult to achieve or experience actual happiness. Many of us are always looking toward external factors to experience joy and happiness when really it’s all related to internal work. This is something science is just starting to grasp as well, as shown by research coming out of UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC).

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Living In Gratitude: 5 Myths About Being Grateful

Does gratitude make us lazy? Naive?

Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, debunks five of the most common myths and misconceptions about being grateful.

1. Gratitude leads to complacency

If we are grateful, will we be motivated to challenge the status quo or improve our lot in life?

In reality, studies suggest that the opposite is true: Gratitude drives a sense of purpose and a desire to do more.

People are actually more successful at reaching their goals when they consciously practice gratitude. Among a group of study participants, the grateful group tasked to keep a gratitude journal made 20 percent more progress toward their goals than the non-grateful group and they continue to strive harder toward their goals. Read more

Research Shows The Power In Gratitude

You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

It’s easy to take being grateful for granted. It’s easy to say, “Oh sure, gratitude,” and dismiss it as positive thinking ‘mumbo jumbo’. Do not make this mistake.

Be amazed! Research says…

Numerous scientific studies show that when people engage in a regular practice of heartfelt gratitude, they experience a significantly increased amount of physical, psychological, and interpersonal benefits. In some instances, people have said that their practice of gratitude led to transformative life changes. Read more