Robert Emmons, one of the leading experts on gratitude and author of Gratitude Works!, has discovered that “[people] who experience gratitude [are] able to cope more effectively with everyday stress, may show increased resilience in the face of trauma-induced stress, and may recover more quickly from illness and benefit from greater physical health”. This means that gratitude has a lot of power if we choose to hone in on it, as it takes practice to achieve these benefits. Dr. Bryan Sexton, Director of Duke University’s Patient Safety Center, adds that the benefits of gratitude may be amplified when shared with others. One way to practice sharing the benefits of gratitude is by using the UW Health Gratitude Cards, inspired by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Wellness Symposium. Wellness Options at Work created Gratitude Cards to convey gratitude to those around you.
Here’s how it works:
- Take a moment and reflect on your day; did a colleague support you, help you when you were in a pinch or bring a smile to your face? When you see an opportunity to extend a message of appreciation or acknowledgement to someone in your department, grab a Gratitude Card!
- On the back of the card, there is space for a handwritten message. Use this space to compose a statement of appreciation or gratitude towards a colleague. For example, “Your willingness to smile”, “Your ability to stay calm and positive”, etc.
- Hand deliver the Gratitude Card to the person it was created for. Make their day. Make a connection. Make a difference. It may inspire them to do the same!
Remember: gratitude takes practice. The more often you extend gratitude to others, the greater the benefit to you and those around you. Acknowledge someone’s hard work, thank a coworker for their support, let someone know s/he is important to you, or simply remind someone that you think they’re awesome. A little note of gratitude can go a long way!
Visit 5-3-1: Workplace Wellbeing to learn more about gratitude.