How Gratitude Can Improve Employee Health

Posted by Lisa Stovall on Wed, Nov, 13, 2013

thank you noteIt may seem unrelated to employee wellness programs at first glance, after all when we talk about gratitude during the month of November, it usually centers around Thanksgiving - a day that can be tough on the waistline. But you shouldn't wait for a national holiday to express gratitude - it should be celebrated every day because expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better. Best of all it's free!

Robert Emmons, PhD and Michael McCullough, PhD are considered the world's leading scientific experts on gratitude. They describe gratitude as personality strength — the ability to be keenly aware of the good things that happen to you and never take them for granted.

Research shows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others.

In one study, participants kept a short journal. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were 25% happier. They reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.

So how can you cultivate gratitude among employees? Follow these tips:

  • Look for Opportunities to Celebrate Success 
  • Support Peer-to-Peer Recognition
  • Create a Thank You Note Program
  • Get Employees Involved in Community Service Projects 
  • Promote Gratitude Journals 
  • Reinforce Random Acts of Kindness at Work 
  • Offer Education About Benefits of Gratitude 
  • Encourage Employees to Practice Breathing Exercises 
  • Give Employees a Gratitude Quiz 

These small interventions take little time but can have significant positive ramifications for your workforce. And in the spirit of gratitude, thank you for reading our Employee Wellness Blog. I hope you find it relevant and useful as you work to create worksite wellness programs. 

For more reasons why to practice gratitude, check out this infographic created by Here’s My Chance.


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Topics: Wellness at Work


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