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This One, Small Thing Can Dramatically Improve Your Work-Life

This One, Small Thing Will Improve Your Work-Life

What if I told you there was one small practice that you could introduce every day that would help you with whatever is weighing on you at work and beyond? Regardless of your situation- whether it be that you’re in a job that you’re looking to leave, you have a boss that you don’t like, or that you like your job and you just have a bad day from time to time. No matter where you are, there is one small thing you can do today to improve your work-life and beyond.

This one, magic, secret antidote to improve your life is to practice gratitude.

The Science Behind How Gratitude Can Help

According to an article in Positive Psychology, the health benefits of practicing gratitude include: For the individual:
• increased happiness and positive mood
• more satisfaction with life
• less materialistic
• less likely to experience burnout
• better physical health
• better sleep
• less fatigue
• lower levels of cellular inflammation
• greater resiliency
• encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom For groups:
• increases prosocial behaviors
• strengthens relationships
• may help employees’ effectiveness
• may increase job satisfaction

If you think about it, it’s probably obvious why gratitude helps. While we can’t control the things that happen to us, we can control how we choose to react to them. Before we react, we have a primary thought about the situation, which then triggers an emotion, which finally triggers a reaction. So if we consciously choose to look for the good (i.e.- what we’re grateful for), we will be more inclined to produce positive thoughts about events we experience which then will trigger a positive reaction.

Indeed, the power of gratitude is remarkable when we consider the impact it has on our thoughts, emotions, and reactions. While we may not have control over every circumstance that unfolds in our lives, we have the ability to choose how we respond to them. This is where gratitude plays a crucial role.

When we encounter a situation, our initial thought about it sets the stage for our emotional response and subsequent reaction. By consciously choosing to focus on the positive aspects and things we are grateful for, we shift our perspective and create a more positive framework for interpreting events. This intentional shift in mindset allows us to generate positive thoughts about the experiences we encounter.

As we cultivate gratitude and make it a habit to seek the good in every situation, we begin to notice the silver linings, the lessons, and the blessings that may have initially gone unnoticed. This shift in perception has a profound impact on our emotions, as it fosters feelings of appreciation, contentment, and joy.

When we approach life with gratitude, our reactions to events become more positive and constructive. We are less likely to dwell on negativity or get caught up in pessimism. Instead, we respond with resilience, optimism, and a proactive attitude. Gratitude empowers us to find the opportunities for growth and to embrace the present moment, even in the face of challenges.

By consciously choosing gratitude, we tap into our innate ability to shape our thoughts, emotions, and reactions. We create a positive ripple effect that not only impacts our own well-being but also influences those around us. The practice of gratitude enhances our overall outlook on life, strengthens our relationships, and fosters a sense of fulfillment and happiness.

So, let us embrace the power of gratitude and consciously choose to focus on the good in our lives. By doing so, we invite positivity, resilience, and joy to permeate our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

A Story About How Gratitude Can Help

When I was a marketing director, I had a really bad habit of waking up in the morning and immediately grabbing my phone to look at my email. I was exposing myself to all of the things that I needed to do and my immediate thought when I woke up was, “I am behind.” This led to all kinds of personal, judgmental feelings directly tied to my value of being a dependable and helpful business partner. I was setting myself up for failure by starting my day focusing on everything that I haven’t yet accomplished. I was already in a deficit.

Contrast that with what I do now. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is think about the three things I am grateful for and what I am looking forward to in the day ahead. That allows me to start my day on a positive note and subconsciously, reminds me to focus on the things I am grateful for throughout the day.

Of course, there are mornings when my baby is crying and I forget to take the time to go through this exercise.

The contrast between the days that I do take five minutes to think about the things I’m grateful for in the morning vs. the days that I don’t are markedly different in terms of how I show up, how I feel, and what opportunities come my way.

Starting the day by immediately diving into work-related matters, such as checking emails, can create a sense of overwhelm and perpetuate the feeling of being behind. It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of self-judgment and feeling inadequate, especially when we focus on what we haven’t yet accomplished.

In contrast, your current approach of beginning the day with gratitude sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. By taking a few moments to reflect on what you are grateful for and what you are looking forward to, you shift your attention towards the positive aspects of your life. This practice not only uplifts your mood but also helps you cultivate a mindset of abundance and appreciation.

When you intentionally focus on gratitude, you bring a sense of positivity, joy, and openness into your day. This positive mindset sets the stage for greater opportunities, as you are more likely to notice and seize the moments of growth and abundance that come your way. By acknowledging and appreciating the good in your life, you create a mindset that attracts more positivity and invites more fulfilling experiences.

While there may be days when circumstances disrupt your routine or you forget to engage in your gratitude practice, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s all part of the journey. What matters is the awareness you bring to the impact of gratitude on your overall well-being and the opportunities it creates in your life.

By consciously integrating gratitude into your morning routine, you are empowering yourself to show up with a positive mindset, a sense of fulfillment, and a greater appreciation for the blessings in your life. This practice sets the stage for a day filled with positivity, resilience, and a readiness to embrace opportunities that come your way.

Ways to Practice Gratitude

The thing I love about this practice is that it requires no additional equipment, it can be done from anywhere, and it only takes a couple of minutes to do. To discover what works best for you, you’ll likely want to experiment.

One of the wonderful aspects of incorporating a gratitude practice into your daily routine is its simplicity and flexibility. It requires no special equipment or elaborate setup, making it accessible to everyone. Whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go, you can engage in this practice from anywhere.

The beauty of gratitude practice lies in its adaptability to suit your preferences and needs. There are various ways to explore and experiment with what works best for you. Some people find solace in writing down their blessings in a gratitude journal, while others prefer to silently reflect on their gratitude during a few moments of quiet contemplation. You may also find joy in expressing your gratitude out loud or sharing it with others.

It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to gratitude practice. Each person’s journey of cultivating gratitude is unique. By experimenting with different methods and techniques, you can discover the approach that resonates most with you and brings about the greatest sense of joy and fulfillment.

You might find it helpful to allocate a specific time each day to focus on gratitude, such as in the morning upon waking up, during a break in your workday, or before going to bed. However, feel free to adjust and adapt your practice to align with your schedule and personal preferences. The key is to find a rhythm and routine that works best for you, ensuring that the practice remains consistent and meaningful.

As you embark on this exploration of gratitude, be open to discovering what resonates with your heart and brings a sense of gratitude and joy into your life. With time and experimentation, you will develop a practice that becomes a cherished part of your daily routine, enriching your well-being and inviting a greater sense of appreciation into your life.

So, embrace the opportunity to experiment and discover the unique ways in which gratitude can enhance your life. Enjoy the journey of uncovering what works best for you and savor the transformative power of gratitude in your daily experiences.

To give you some ideas, here are some options that you can choose from to incorporate a gratitude practice:
• Taking three minutes each morning and/or every evening to think about what you’re grateful for. This may be a prayer or just a silent thought to yourself.
• Keeping a gratitude journal where you write down what you’re grateful for
• Choosing one person a day or per week to thank for their positive contribution to your life (whether this be verbal or via a letter or gift)
• Kick off your team meetings by asking everyone to share one thing they are grateful for in their lives
• Take a pause after each difficult encounter to ask yourself one thing you’re grateful for as it relates to this encounter
• Calendar time in your day to do a gratitude meditation. Read more about the positive impact meditation can have on your life.

• Set up a gratitude buddy system. With a friend, commit to texting each other each day to share the three things you are grateful for and hold each other accountable.

Try one of the above for most of the days of this week and gauge the difference between the days you do and the days you don’t focus on gratitude and how it improves your work-life and beyond.

This could be the one small change you need to spark a larger, positive transition in your life.

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