In the next 60 seconds, you’ll discover how one key emotion can make you a more effective executive and a happier, healthier person. Ready? Set. Go!
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Do you regularly express gratitude? It turns out that an “attitude of gratitude” is not only wise for building positive relationships, but good for your mental and physical health.
“If there were a drug that did [what gratitude does], whoever patented that drug would be rich. Gratitude is very powerful.” ―Susan Peirce Thompson, cognitive scientist.
The Study of Gratitude
Traditionally, psychologists have focused on understanding distress rather than positive emotions. However, with the current focus on positive psychology, scientists are now looking at gratitude to understand how often and deeply people experience it and how this affects them.
It turns out there are more reasons than you might think for expressing thankfulness. Gratitude helps you sleep better, cope with stress, and even overcome extremely trying times. It boosts your self-esteem and makes relationships easier to build and maintain. Grateful people also tend toward healthier habits, exercising more and overeating less.
If you take your wellbeing and relationships seriously—as all executives should—then look for ways to feel and express gratitude more often. Extrapolate this to your direct reports. Make sure you’re telling them how grateful you are for all their work… and for who they are as people.
Researchers have also looked at the obstacles to gratitude and found narcissism, cynicism, materialism and envy as impediments. Unfortunately, we find a lot of these traits in the executive rank and file.
The narcissist has a sense of entitlement. This gives them an attitude of “I deserve this” and precludes gratitude. The cynic may believe there’s nothing worth being grateful for, or that their benefactors have ulterior motives. Those who envy are being selfish and self-centered. And materialist are overly focused on things and undervalue people. These character defects almost always result in finding more reasons to be unhappy than to be grateful.
Thankfulness does not come naturally to everyone. However, it is accessible to all. Given the important link to health and wellbeing, it makes sense for us, as executives, to experience and express gratitude more often than not.
What are you doing to pay attention to this key emotion?
Do you have any limiting beliefs that may be interfering with your ability to feel and express gratitude?
How can you cultivate an attitude of gratitude?
One idea is to make a list of 5 things for which you are grateful at the beginning of every day. Another is to pick out one direct report per day and tell them why you are grateful they are on your team. What are your ideas? I would love to hear from you.
Speaking of gratefulness, I’m grateful for the time you have given me by reading this week’s One-Minute Coaching™. If you are a CEO or other genuine executive, I would like to return the favor by providing you with several complimentary executive coaching sessions. Just click the button below to schedule our call.