December 11, 2016 / LIFE'S A JOURNEY, APPRECIATE EVERY STEP
December 11, 2016
“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness, you create more of it.” -Oprah
Negativity is the automatic way of thinking for the majority. Evolution has left humans with a tendency to notice the negative rather than the positive. This negativity bias means we attend to, learn from, and use negative information far more than positive information. We tend to remember memories colored by anger and sadness rather than by joy.
Although negativity has served our biological need for survival, we have the power to not only survive, but thrive. Why not choose to go beyond the daily grind of just getting by and instead enjoy the opportunity that every step presents along the way?
In order to shift away from our default negative setting, we have to actively train our brains to focus on the positive. Small steps now to shift our mindsets can make a big difference later.
What happens when we express gratitude?
Picture this: a coworker, Steve, stops by the office of a peer and says, “Karen, you rocked it at the meeting today! That new idea you shared was epic! I’m so glad you are on our team.”
Receiving positive feedback motivates us.
Karen, as the recipient of the compliment, is very likely to do better work as a result of receiving the compliment. Research sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation found appreciation to be an even better motivator than money. In a 2013 survey of 2,000 Americans on gratitude, some 80% agreed that receiving gratitude makes them work harder. Another set of research at the London School of Economics analyzed more than 50 studies to conclude that we give our best effort if others appreciate what we do.
Expressing gratitude is good for us.
The best part of gratitude is that everyone involved benefits. Both the recipient of the gratitude and the person expressing it will experience a multitude of positive benefits.
According to a Harvard Health review, people expressing gratitude will “feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” In addition, improved sleep, enhanced empathy and reduced aggression are also among the widely cited reasons why we should all give more thanks to those around us.
Challenge your mindset often.
What would happen if we chose to be grateful frequently enough that we began to consistently see the good in everybody and in every situation? We can practice having an appreciative mindset by continually choosing to ask and answer questions, especially in tough moments, such as, “What good can I see in this moment?” Having an appreciative mindset makes us more readily available to take action to express gratitude often in an authentic and sincere way.
Luckily, the surprising power of appreciation is that it multiplies. You can start to train your brain by reminding it to refocus on the positive in the person or situation currently in front of you. This is no easy task. But, when you do this consistently, you’ll begin see there is so much to be appreciated around you in the present moment. Everything from the beautiful sunrise, to the smiles of your colleagues, to the feeling of satisfaction for a job well done.
The wonderful thing is that what you focus on grows. The more you practice the art of appreciation, the more you will find to be grateful for. And it’s a choice you can make every day. With consistency, it’ll hopefully become habit. After a while it becomes like muscle memory, an automatic (albeit trained) response to the circumstances at hand.
Having an appreciative mindset means refocusing on what you have rather than what you lack so that the journey can become just as enjoyable as the end result.
Six Uncommon Sense Tips to Be More Grateful
Share with us what you’re appreciative of today so we can keep the grateful ball rolling!