Thursday, December 1, 2016

Did Thanksgiving fly by?

Where were you one week ago? It was Thanksgiving. Did you spend it with family or friends? Did you tell others how thankful you are for the people you live and work with? Did you feel a little more grateful before the main meal that day? Were you thankful the Lions, Cowboys, or Steelers won their NFL games?

No matter how you spent the day, I hope you had a chance to ponder the good things in your life.
I wonder, though, how many people have kept the gratitude attitude since that day? Have you been as thoughtful about life’s goodness since Thanksgiving or did you return quickly to the routines of the week?

I traveled to Montana for the holiday, and I confess to returning to the routine upon the return home. It’s like I left the extra special feelings far away from home. I realized that earlier today during yet another conversation about how time flies. In the book Put Your Whole Self In!, I mention that time often flies the fastest when we are not paying attention.

Being thankful is one way to slow down so life doesn’t pass us by.

Counting blessings causes greater satisfaction in life. 

According to study results published a few years ago in The Wall Street Journal, adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.

Another fantastic outcome of counting blessings is that it stimulates reciprocity. Research shows people who recognize how they have benefitted from help of others, eagerly help others more than ungrateful people do.

Since gratitude can stimulate more positive behaviors, we should seek to live more gratefully and inspire others to do the same whether we are managers or teammates. Right?

If you’re ready to count your blessings more deliberately, consider the list below and choose the ones that will inspire you the most.

  1. Take 3 minutes each morning to ponder the good things in your life.
  2. Write up to 5 things you’re grateful for in a journal each day. Consider listing people, experiences, challenges, material things, and skills.
  3. Have a Gratitude Visit once a week with a colleague. While it is certainly okay to email to express appreciation, it often means more when delivered in person.
  4. Express appreciation for the mundane, not just the monumental. The tendency is to thank those who go the extra mile, but don’t forget those who worked hard to complete the mile. Don’t overlook those who do the daily routines that keep this place, or your team, humming along.
  5. Ponder what you don’t have. Be thankful for unanswered life requests or desires. (Did Garth Brooks’s song Unanswered Prayers come to mind?)

If the gratitude you felt a week ago has subsided already, consider taking a few actions to bring it back. Slow life down a little by counting blessings, and you will be more satisfied and will start a chain reaction of helpfulness. Ah! Now, that would be something to be grateful for every day!