“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all of the others.” — Cicero
If someone bumps into you and knocks your full cup of coffee onto your shirt, who’s to blame for the mess? You are. Why? Because you had coffee in your cup.
This story from Thich Nhat Hanh shows that while it may be easy to blame external circumstances for our experiences, it is what we hold in ourselves that we spill out into the world. We all face circumstances that make it easy to hold negative emotions in our cups.
Our unique personal experiences impact our relationship to the world. We all have pasts and private ordeals that affect how we exist every day. Despite our experiences, several studies show the benefits of an attitude of gratitude. These exist in our personal and professional lives. Here’s a look at just a few:
Boost good spirits by acknowledging the good in life.
Studies show that incorporating a gratitude practice into your life increases positive outlook and leads to happiness. Gratitude helps people enjoy the good times and build strong relationships.
Upgrade your health perception.
Not only does gratitude increase happiness, but research suggests it may also better your health. Some studies found that those who expressed gratitude experienced fewer health problems. Additionally, people who are grateful report feeling healthier — a worthwhile benefit to note.
Get better sleep and be your best you.
It’s difficult to function when sleep-deprived, yet anxieties about, well, everything, keep the wheels turning at night and can cause sleep disruptions. Studies show that when we slow our minds down and reflect on what we are grateful for instead of what we’re worried about, we may sleep more and better. This better prepares us to tackle what life throws at us the next day.
Increase your team’s productivity.
Being grateful doesn’t only benefit us in our personal lives. There are benefits in the workplace, too. Recognizing the contributions of others pays off. A Harvard study found that managers who consistently show employees their gratitude have a staff that’s 50% more productive than the control group. Showing gratitude can be as simple as saying “thank you” for extra efforts or “congratulations” for a job well done. Looking for ideas? Check out this guide providing ideas of ways to support your staff CPA exam candidates throughout their journey.
Gratitude: A personal perspective
Truthfully, my brother's living with autism, the unexpected passing of my dad and two recent diagnoses have tested my ability to remain grateful at times. These experiences are jarring and painful. But they don't make up everything I am.
I allow myself the moments I need to grieve but also understand that I have much to be grateful for – even if sometimes it just feels like it’s that large cup of coffee in the morning. It’s the gratitude for even the small things I want those in my personal and professional life to see not just spilling but pouring out of my cup.