I have been thinking about gratitude and how it can shape one’s perspective of the world recently. Various things within my own life have helped me cultivate an attitude of gratitude. It has transformed me both as a professional within higher education and on a more personal level.
Be thankful for the little things, especially on rough days.
For instance, when you get frustrated with a bad day at your job, be thankful you have a job in the first place. Be grateful that you are working in a profession that you enjoy. Training your mind to think this way might be hard at first, but once you do – it is quite incredible.
Put a positive spin on negative situations.
For instance, when I had multiple delayed flights while I was traveling, rather than be annoyed I put a positive spin on the situation at hand. I had more time to relax, read and rest. By putting a positive on these turn of events, it made the situation more bearable to deal with.
Practice gratitude daily.
Find at least one thing that you are grateful for every day. Or make a list. There are scientifically proven facts and benefits to showing gratitude including deepening relationships and improved mental health to name a few. Gratitude isn’t just for Thanksgiving!
Thank people constantly.
Whenever someone does something nice or goes out of their way to do something for me, I thank them profusely. I also try to return it in some way. If someone buys me a coffee, I would want to buy them a coffee the next time I see them. (However, as a note, etiquette usually dictates that it should be that same week). Try to find a way to show and continue to show kindness to people you meet. If you have a job interview, make sure to send a thank you letter or email to your interviewer thanking them for their time. I always think of the main character in the amazing short film Validation. (He made people feel good!).
Help your staff practice gratitude.
When I was an RA, my supervisor had pieces of construction paper and she instructed us to write our names on it during one of our staff meetings. We would pass the papers around and write something nice about each other. All of these comments about us from our fellow staff members were put on a mug (with our names on the handles). Not only did we have a beautiful keepsake, but also something to brighten our days, as well. Doing an activity like this is a wonderful way of incorporating gratitude in a professional setting in a genuine and authentic way.
Listen to cheerful and upbeat music at work.
I love listening to music while I work. Some of my favorite songs are “Beautiful Day” by U2, “You’re An Original, Baby” by Sheryl Crow, “Smile” by Vitamin C and “Perfect Day” by Hoku. It is easier to happier (and therefore more grateful) when you are listening to such cheerful music.