The Case for 5 Minutes of Gratitude a Day

Gratitude is an attitude – a mental and emotional, even spiritual acknowledgment that something’s going right.

It’s also a capacity booster.

This isn’t a new age thing. It’s practical. And you might even thank me for it.

Gratitude gets you unstuck.

We all get stuck in the mud. We get stuck seeing what isn’t working, what’s blocking us, what’s weighing us down. We get stuck in patterns of avoidance, indecision or decision-making that comes from a place of fear or frustration.

One of the quickest ways to get unstuck – even just for a moment of clarity – is to stop, step back and ask yourself what you have to be thankful for. There’s gotta be something.

Your team is in crisis, your project is behind schedule, you’re dreading the next meeting and you’re running out of energy to hold it together. Stop.

Take 1 minute to think about something someone did right that you’re grateful for.

It will be a relief to think about it. That moment of relief calms your mind and creates a pathway for you to have a good look at something that’s working, instead of putting all your energy into the stuff that isn’t.

Gratitude gets other people unstuck.

I repeat. We all get stuck. There are people around you right now who would benefit from having a shockwave of appreciation. It will give them an instant boost, which could turn into a life line when they get seriously stuck.

As a manager, but also just as a human being, extending a genuine gesture of gratitude can help people see how they fit in, how they benefit the team or how something they did has more value than they might realize.

Take 1 minute to properly thank someone for doing something right.

I’m not talking about being polite, or doing the old “tell them two things they did right so you can tell them what they did wrong”. I’m talking about being real, being appreciative and giving someone something to grab onto.

Keep a stash of thank you cards in your desk (not company branded marketing materials, actual cards – this isn’t guerrilla marketing) and write a personal note to say what gave you pause to be grateful.

No one remembers a one-line “Thanks.”  But a genuine note is something that stays with a person.

If someone really blew your mind, add an invite to breakfast or a round of golf to your note. Or follow it up with a gift. But don’t delay the thanks until you have time to do something big. Write down your thoughts in the moment and share them while the emotion is fresh and has the most impact for you and the receiver.

Gratitude builds your capacity long term.

In addition to the good feelings you get and give when you show appreciation, there are three long-term capacity building outcomes to practicing gratitude daily:

  1. People stick by you. Really noticing and appreciating good things and good people is attractive. It inspires people to give you their best and inspires loyalty.
  2. You see things you would otherwise miss. Lots of people miss opportunities, squander creativity or outright lose people because they don’t appreciate what’s right in front of them.
  3. You become more resilient. Practicing gratitude isn’t about seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses. It’s about choosing to see the good with the bad and cultivating a habit that can get you through tough times.

Take 3 minutes a day to write down two or three things you are grateful for in a gratitude journal.

Carry around a notepad, or keep it by your bed. The book is not only a record of good stuff that’s going on, it’s a physical, tangible counterweight to the intangible mental and emotional weight we carry around all day.

I do this stuff. I have a gratitude journal and a stash of cards in my desk. I get a kick out of it. And I am truly appreciative of the personal notes I get from clients and the heartfelt thanks people extend. Their appreciation helps me stay focused on doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and energizes me to give people the straight talk and the tools to jump up their game.

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Category: All, Energy at work, Energy for life, Manage your Energy
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