Monday, February 4, 2008

Practice Gratitude - Increase Happiness, It's Official

The research data is in. Gratitude builds community and increases happiness.

I have written in earlier posts that a simple thank you does much to build community. In Build Community - Start simply with smiles and thanks, I quoted Carmine Coyote who wrote at Slow Leadership, that gratitude is "major constituent in the glue that holds together groups of all sizes, from a few friends to society as a whole."

Leaders can use thanks and gratitude to start building a community of leaders.

The value and effect of gratitude was cemented in "Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Happiness by 25%" on the PsyBlog. The post cites the work of Dr. Robert A Emmons of the University of California, Davis in his book, Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. In studies referenced in the book, Emmons found that people who focused on gratitude felt fully 25% happier and more optimistic about the future.

Additional research by Emmons and Dr Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami discovered that the benefits of gratitude extended to a variety of emotional, interpersonal and life gains.

How can leaders capture and maximize the benefits of gratefulness. A follow-up PsyBlog post cited Emmons' tips for become more grateful and happy:
  1. Keep a gratitude journal.
  2. Ask yourself three questions, consider someone you know and "first consider what you have received from them,
    second what you have given to them and thirdly what trouble you have
    caused them. This may lead to discovering you owe others more than you
  3. Use visual reminders to remember to be grateful.
  4. Swear an oath to be more grateful.
  5. Act grateful to be grateful. Remember "Thanks begets thanks."
Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly and gratefully.

No comments: