Thanksgiving is here, and even though it may be laden with awkward conversation starters from relatives at the dinner table, it’s also a time to reflect on everything you’re grateful for.

However, in the chaos of holiday preparations as well as the general bustle of our busy lives, the underlying theme of Thanksgiving — gratitude — can still get forgotten.

If gratitude is missing from your daily routine, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show your family members, friends and co-workers how much you appreciate all they do. Not only does a nice gesture make you and the other person feel good, but it also has many benefits you may never have thought of.

Gratitude Improves Your Health

That’s right. Gratitude might be the key to your health issues.

Gratitude has been proven to improve people’s health, and there are many studies to illustrate this claim. One study done at the University of Connecticut found that a group of people who showed gratitude reported less health problems and a lower risk of heart attack than the group of people who didn’t show gratitude.

Everyday stress that comes with life can be minimized when you are thankful for what you have; a little gratitude can help even big problems seem a little more manageable.

Get Better Sleep

Do you spend half of the night tossing and turning in your bed? Perhaps a little gratitude before you doze off can help you get better sleep.

It’s been proven that both sleep quality and length improve among individuals who had positive cognition – thoughts of gratitude and thankfulness – before going to bed.

Good things do happen every day. It just can be difficult to take notice of them when your mind is usually occupied with the stresses of work or your social life. Take a few minutes each night to reflect on the positive things that took place that day, and you will see an improvement in how well you sleep.

Boosts Your Happiness

You can become a much happier person when you let gratitude into your life.

There are many ways gratitude can make you happier — so the studies say. In one study, a group of people wrote down what they were grateful for each day for ten weeks. At the end of the exercise, they reported feeling more positive and more content with their lives.

Gratitude can help boost your self-esteem and improve your well-being because acknowledging what you do have instead of what you don’t breeds positivity. Those positive emotions eventually spill over into all areas of your life.

Gratitude can also improve your relationships with other people. There is no better way to get closer to someone than to tell them how much you appreciate them. This can be helpful when trying to improve your personal relationships, as well as those in the workplace.

Demonstrating Gratitude in the Workplace

Gratitude goes a long way, no matter where you are. Here are some ways to show gratitude to your co-workers:

Talk to that person. This might seem so simple, and that’s because it is.

In today’s modern technological world full of texting and email, we rarely speak face-to-face with people — unless you count something like Skype or FaceTime. While these digital methods of communication are very convenient, nothing beats the social interaction of actually physically talking to someone in person.

Thanksgiving is an ideal time to pull someone aside and tell them much you appreciate their work. You don’t have to give a twenty-minute speech to show your appreciation, either. People in the workplace sometimes aren’t sure if their work is useful to the company, so giving them a quick compliment can go a long way in your relationship with that person.

Write a handwritten letter. A handwritten letter does wonders for showing gratitude.

A letter is something tangible that someone can keep and look back on when they’re having a bad day. There is something special about receiving a physical note that is personalized to you. Just the concept of you writing the letter lets the other person know you appreciate them because otherwise you wouldn’t have taken the time to do it.

When you go this route, be sure the note is handwritten. Typing may convey what you’re wanting to say, but a typed letter often doesn’t have the impact a handwritten note does.

Tell your boss. If a co-worker helped you out with something, let your boss know about it.

Don’t make a big scene and announce this person’s good deeds in a meeting. You could embarrass the person by putting them on the spot, and it might seem like you want attention for pointing out what this person did. The most gracious thing that you can do is to be humble.

Go to your boss and let them know what the other person has done for you. Your boss may also provide kudos to that person and perhaps share what you said about their accomplishment.

Do something thoughtful. While everything so far are thoughtful actions, sometimes you can go the extra mile to show your appreciation.

Maybe there is something special one of your co-workers enjoys. Perhaps there is a common interest you share and discuss with them. A small gift related to these things can improve your relationship. It’ll show them you listen to them and care about their interests.

 

Gratitude isn’t just for Thanksgiving – use it to fuel your career today and every day!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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