by, Kim Shiver, M.Ed, Speaker, Communications Strategist & instructional Design Consultant
As we pass Thanksgiving in November and move into the December holidays, it’s a time where gratitude and giving thanks for those around us becomes present in our minds. The reality is that if we add more frequent even daily doses, of gratitude in our lives, we can communicate better and create deeper connections with those around us.
What is Gratitude?
While people sometimes think of gratitude as thoughts of appreciation, it is deeper than that. Gratitude is an emotion of appreciation for what we have in our lives. Emotions are stronger than thoughts in that they have deep feelings associated with them. When we focus and feel in our hearts what and who in our lives we appreciate, we are practicing gratitude.
How to Cultivate Gratitude
While it’s true that gratitude is an emotion, which is felt at a deeper level than a thought, the good news is that you can cultivate gratitude by starting with thoughts. Stop and notice things that are going right for you in the moment. Think on these and express thankfulness. You’re on your way to feeling gratitude.
Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
I’m not sure who first wrote of having an attitude of gratitude, but in a quick internet search, you’ll find many references on the value of cultivating gratitude as part of your daily work. And it’s not Woo Woo, although it may seem so at first. Studies in psychology show that gratitude improves mental health, enhances empathy and reduces physical aggression. It builds deeper connections with those around you, and may even help you sleep better.
Since communication is about creating a connection with others, things that help you connect, help you communicate. Studies show that gratitude helps deepen your relationships which of course leads to improved and enhanced communication
Exercises for Daily Gratitude
Interested, but not sure where to start? Here are a few exercises to help you get started on your journey to gratitude.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Once or twice a day list at least 3 things you’re grateful for.
- Stop and take notice of small things to be grateful for during the day. Simple things like getting to the checkout at the grocery store and finding no line are perfect moments to notice and appreciate.
- Send thank you notes to those you appreciate. Don’t keep the appreciation to yourself, let others in on how they enhance your life.
I am grateful for those I connect with on a daily basis, for my customers, and for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Want more on communication and gratitude? Visit me at KimShivler.com/gratitude.
Kim Shivler, M.Ed. is a speaker, communications strategist, and instructional design consultant. She helps businesses increase sales, improve customer service, and build effective teams. Learn more about her programs at KimShivler.com