The Thanksgiving Gift That Pays Dividends All Year

Thanksgiving. There are so many things I love about this holiday we celebrate in America each November.

Beyond the family, friends, and food, it turns out that being thankful is also immensely healthy. In Melinda Beck’s Wall Street Journal article this week, she outlines how those who are grateful reap a myriad of benefits, including:

  • More energy
  • Greater optimism
  • More social connections
  • Increased happiness
  • Less depression
  • Less envious of others
  • Earn more money
  • Sleep more soundly
  • Exercise more regularly, and
  • Greater resistance to viral infections

Think about people you work with regularly…. Who is the most cranky? Who gets annoyed most easily?

Was it difficult to bring someone to mind? How about the flip-side….

Who is generally most optimistic? Has greater energy and tends to be more positive?

Chances are this latter group of people are more thankful.

Thanks to the fundamental attribution error (which we discuss in our workshops and e-learning on managing conflict), I suppose it’s easiest to see a spirit of complaining in others rather than ourselves. In fact, the WSJ article admits that “gratitude is actually a demanding, complex emotion that requires ‘self-reflection, the ability to admit one is dependent upon the help of others, and the humility to realize one’s own limitations.'”

Here’s my Thanksgiving challenge for you…. When someone at work asks, “Who is the most grateful person on our team?”, how about you being the first person they think of?

As you go through the coming weeks and begin a new year, I challenge us all (myself included) to consciously work on removing any “negativity bias” and intentionally exercising a spirit of gratitude that lasts far longer than the turkey we carve and its leftovers.

Thankfulness is a gift that pays dividends. Let’s be known as gracious, appreciating, thankful people at work, at home, and in our community.

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