At Verb, we really jumped into making November a month to share and practice our gratitudes—not just for our personal benefit, but also because we understand happier teams are more productive teams.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word GRATIA, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Taking the time to think through your day or life to really focus on the good, whether tangible or intangible, allows people to process and recognize those positive things, which most times are outside of themselves and help people feel more connected to others, nature or a higher power.
There have been countless scientific studies focused on the practice of gratitude and the main takeaway is this: there is literally no downside. Gratitude may in fact be the most important key to finding success and happiness. Knowing what we appreciate means we know what makes us who we are, and makes each day worthwhile. Tapping into to the feelings of gratitude puts us in a positive mindset and connects us to the world around us. Scientific studies show that the simple act of writing down a few things we are grateful for can, in time, not only reshape how your brain work, but also lead to the benefits below:
• Greater happiness
• More optimism and positive emotions
• New and lasting relationships
• Better health
• Fewer aches and pains
• Progress towards personal goals
• More alertness and determination
• Better sleep
• Improved self esteem
• Increased generosity and empathy
With benefits like this, we decided to really lean into asking our team to focus on gratitude and taking the time to focus not on what 2020 has “taken away,” but they have and what they could be grateful for. We compiled a series of videos, highlighting the different staff that were willing to share things they’re grateful for. Take a look below!
The science and research are there, showing us that gratitude indeed works. But, if it really is this magical key to making you better, why is it that not everyone buys in? While I can’t answer that definitively, it might be as a simple as not knowing where to start, or even more likely, it’s the gym scenario—where you go work out once, and feel pretty good at the time, but you later find yourself frustrated when you realize your one intense gym session didn’t lead to newly sculpted, six-pack abs. We are a society that is focused on instant gratification, and generally the things that are good for us, take time for the benefits to show. The reality is, for gratitude to really work, it takes time, and it takes consistency.
Below are a few simple ways to practice gratitude daily and to get you started, according to Lifehack:
1. Keep a gratitude journal and add to it every day.
2. Tell someone you love them and how much you appreciate them.
3. Notice the beauty in nature each day.
4. Nurture the friendships you have; good friends don’t come along every day.
5. Smile more often.
6. Watch inspiring videos that will remind you of the good in the world.
7. Include an act of kindness in your life each day.
8. Avoid negative media and movies with destructive content.
9. Call your mom or dad more often.
10. Cook meals with love, think of the people you will feed.
11. Volunteer for organizations that help others.
12. Don’t gossip or speak badly about anyone.
13. Spend quality time with your kids, or your lover.
14. Remember to compliment your friends and family when they look good.
15. Write a card to someone you haven’t seen in a while and tell them something nice.
16. Add to your gratitude list daily, at least one more thing each day.
17. When you think a negative thought, try to see the positive side in the situation.
18. Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about anything.
19. Try to take note when people do a good job and give recognition when it’s due at work.
20. Reward effort, if someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them.
21. Meditate with your gratitude list, giving thanks for all your good fortune.
22. Live mindfully, not worrying about the past or future.
23. Thank the people who serve you in the community — the shopkeeper, the bus drivers, etc.
24. Say thank you for the little things your loved ones do for you, things you normally take for granted.
25. Post quotes and images that remind you to be grateful around your house.
26. Call into an elderly neighbor and say thank you for their presence in your life.
27. Call your grandparents and tell them you love them.
28. Embrace challenges and turn them into opportunities to grow.
29. Send love to your enemies or people you dislike.
30. Be thankful when you learn something new.
31. See the growth opportunity in your mistakes.
32. Help your friends see the positive side to life.
33. When times are bad, focus on your friends who are at your side.
34. When time is good, notice and help others.
35. Make a gratitude collage, cut out pictures of all the things that you are grateful for.
36. Make gratitude a part of family life, share it with each other during meal time.
37. Practice gratitude at the same time every day to make it a habit.
38. Focus on your strengths.
39. Share the benefits of gratitude with family and friends.
40. Share gratitude each day by posting a tweet, Facebook post or Pinterest.
It doesn’t matter where you start (and you don’t need to do all of them), but we challenge you to give gratitude a try. It might not solve all the issues of 2020, but it certainly could lead to a more personally fulfilling 2021.