July 26, 2017 | by Matt Thomas
“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” David Steindl-Rast
I first heard this quote last year about this time, just before Lent began. One of my former coworkers showed me a four-minute video of researcher, professor, and author Brene Brown talking about gratitude’s connection to joy.
Brown said, “In 12 years of research, 11,000 pieces of data, I did not interview, in all that time, a person who would describe themselves as joyful or describe their life as joyous who did not actively practice gratitude.” Or, more succinctly, she said, “Practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives.”
For the last year I have been learning how to embrace a discipline of gratitude and watched it sow seeds of joy throughout my life. Prone to forgetfulness, I set two to three alarms on my cell phone that go off every day to remind me to be grateful throughout my day—for the warm breeze, the car I’m driving in, the friends or family I am with. I will admit, there are times, rough moments in already bad days, when I give thanks only reluctantly, but, because it is a discipline, I find something to be grateful for anyway.
The interrupting reminder causes me to see and be thankful for things I would normally overlook. I have overwhelmingly seen the value of practicing gratefulness in my personal, social and spiritual life. Apparently though, one place we collectively forget to practice gratitude is in the workplace.
I recently listened to Harvard Business Review’s IdeaCast podcast, The Big Benefits of a Little Thanks. According to their research, “About half of us will say thank you on a daily basis to someone we’re immediately related to, but only 15% of us say thank you at work. And 35% of people in the survey said that their managers never said thank you.”
According to their research, something as simple as a thank you can make a big impact in the workplace. For example, an expression of gratitude by a supervisor, in one of their studies, resulted in a 50% increase in productivity over the course of a week. Of course, the impact of gratitude in the workplace also goes past just the bottom line. Harvard Business Review’s IdeaCast reported that gratitude left people feeling more attentive, alert, energetic, and, happy about life in general.
The rewards of gratitude seem to infiltrate all areas of our life. So, experience more joy and show your gratitude today—even at work.