By Olga Kingsbury, Career Coach, Career & Professional Development
Research shows that expressing gratitude has a positive impact on people’s well-being. Instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met, gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And just like any other skill, gratitude can be developed by practicing it consciously and regularly.
There are multiple ways we can give thanks:
- Keeping a gratitude journal to write down what we are grateful for daily
The very act of writing down what we are grateful for strengthens our focus on positive energy in our lives. Taking time to sit down and put our thought onto paper is self-care and a therapeutic act in itself. Living our busy and often complicated lives, we may overlook the good little things that happen in our lives daily. Keeping a journal will help us focus on them more consciously, which will help our overall mental and physical well-being.
- Make it a habit to explicitly thank people who positively impact us in any way either verbally or through acts of kindness and thank-you notes
Expressing and receiving gratitude releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters for our emotions, which make us feel good. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy. Research proves that gratitude builds and sustains social bonding ((Algoe, Haidt, & Gable, 2008), and reinforces positive social responses in the future (McCullough, Kimeldorf, & Cohen, 2008) resulting in strong interpersonal connections.
- Express gratitude mentally through meditation and spiritual practices
Mindfulness is one of the best practices we can do to slow down and let go of negativity. Practicing mindful activities like meditation allows us to be in the present by reducing racing thoughts and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Gratitude nurtures mindfulness as it helps you notice your blessings which will be instrumental in handling tough times with grace and acceptance.
The Career & Professional Development Center believes that gratitude is an important part of the career development process. In our attempt to express gratitude to our outstanding students, dedicated faculty, exceptional employers, and engaging alumni who go above and beyond in cultivating student success, we put together a Career Impact Awards – a celebration of our student, campus and community career support and mentorship!
You can express gratitude to student interns, faculty members, advisors, alumni, and employers by nominating them to receive the Career Impact Award. The deadline for nomination submission is March, 25th.
Learn more about the Career Impact Awards and the criteria for nominations here.
More resources on gratitude & mindfulness:
The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety and Grief
How Mindfulness and Gratitude Go Hand in Hand
Giving Thanks can Make You Happier
What is Mindfulness Meditation
More related articles on Peaks & Valleys:
5 Career Wellness Tips that Will Help You Get Hired This Fall