3 Quick Tips for Expressing Gratitude in the Workplace and Beyond
As we approach Thanksgiving, a time traditionally focused on expressing gratitude for what we have, it’s worth considering a shift in perspective: from being thankful for what we have to being grateful for who we have in our lives.
The importance of expressing gratitude, especially towards those around us, extends beyond mere pleasantries. Research has consistently shown that expressing gratitude positively impacts health, enhancing our ability to cope with stress, anxiety, and even improving sleep quality. This can be particularly beneficial during the hustle and bustle of holiday seasons, as I reflect on some of the more challenging family gatherings of my youth!
How Gratitude can Address a Global Health Concern:
Expressing gratitude and creating connection, is a one way to address a broader global health issue that resonates deeply in today’s world – loneliness (which I’ve written about previously). This is a serious issue that has resulted in The World Health Organization (WHO) identifying loneliness as a significant global health threat, launching a International Commission on Social Connection. The US Surgeon General compares the mortality effects of loneliness to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Alarmingly, our research reveals that 1 in 4 leaders feel lonely and disconnected, telling us that they lack even one friend at work. As Thanksgiving and the broader holiday season draws near, these feelings of isolation become more pronounced. Our gestures of gratitude and connection can play a crucial role in alleviating this sense of isolation, contributing significantly to the well-being of those around us.
It’s easy to overlook the impact of our relationships at work, and focus only on our social and family relationships. However, many of us spend most of our waking time at work (whether that’s in the office, working from home, or somewhere in between). The challenge is that even with all the technology at our fingertips, the endless email-slack-text messages, or the triple-booked-hangout-zoom-team-video fest we are all in, this only gives the illusion of connection. We all have a part to play in creating a culture of connection in a world of disconnection. Expressing gratitude is vital for nurturing these connections. Each time we say thank you, we acknowledge the value of others in our lives, strengthening our bonds. Being intentional about expressing gratitude not only builds connections but also helps us to become better friends and allies.
In our book, “You, Me, We,” we discuss how Abundance & Generosity form the foundational practice of an ally mindset. True friendship begins with giving. To give freely, one must believe in abundance—that success, whether measured in time, attention, or resources like ice cream, is a shared, not scarce, resource.
At SkyeTeam, nurturing relationships has been a core part of our ethos since day one. It’s evident in how we interact with our colleagues, clients, and partners. This approach has cultivated a unique environment where people regularly inquire about joining our team or seeking a bit of that ‘SkyeTeam magic’ for themselves.
Three Quick Tips for Demonstrating Gratitude:
- Write Thank-You Notes: A habit of writing thank-you messages can be powerful. We promise, no one has ever complained about being thanked too much!
- Nonverbal Actions: Smiles, nods, and appropriate physical gestures like a handshake or pat on the back can convey a wide array of positive messages.
- Take a Moment for Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness and reflecting on things you’re grateful for can significantly cultivate an attitude of gratitude. At SkyeTeam we start each team meeting with Ripples & Joys, each of us shares an impact we have had for a client (or each other) or how we have been impacted by someone in our network, and something that has brought us joy. This team ritual has been a powerful way of expressing and sharing gratitude for the work we do together.
Dealing with Difficult Situations During Thanksgiving:
Of course, the holiday season can also bring its share of challenges. For instance, managing conversations during family gatherings (like Uncle Fred’s notorious monologues) can test our patience. Here are three strategies to keep your cool:
- Make a Game Plan: Anticipate tricky conversations and plan your responses—or non-responses. Practice saying your response out loud so that you are ready in the moment.
- Stay Calm: If a topic gets heated, take a moment to breathe and calm yourself before responding. Maybe this is the time to take a quick break to diffuse the situation, a walk around the neighborhood, an opportunity to ‘powder your nose’.
- Maintain a Sense of Humor: A light-hearted approach can often defuse tense situations. As Queen Elsa of Arendelle (Frozen) would advise “Let it Go!”
Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude:
As we pause to enjoy our own Thanksgiving celebrations, we encourage you to reflect on the good in your life. When gratitude flows freely in our relationships, work becomes more enjoyable, and we truly become #bettertogether.
Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving next week or simply enjoying a Thursday, we wish you a wonderful time filled with gratitude and joy.