Have you ever felt so appreciated you’re practically blushing by what the other person is saying? I can think of a time or two when I’ve had that kind of lavish appreciation given to me. It made me feel like I was on top of the world.
How about you? Take a minute to think of a time when you felt appreciated. What kind of feelings does it bring to your memory?
Gratitude and appreciation come in various forms. For example, every year at work I have a performance review. It allows me and my manager to give feedback, both positive and negative, on how well I’m doing. During the meeting it’s nice to hear what my manager believes to be my most positive attributes and successes from the previous year.
Last year, I had a unique opportunity to participate in a strengths-based personality assessment program. One of the steps was to ask those whose opinions I value most about my best traits/strengths. I sent out an email with a brief description of what I was doing to 10-15 family and close friends, and I received about 10 responses back. This feedback was one of the most rewarding I’ve ever received because I knew that each person took the time to focus on my best qualities and send me an honest reply. When gratitude is given, it lifts you up, it makes you feel safe, it energizes you, it creates cheerful memories, and it motivates you. There have been several studies on the relationship between gratitude and engagement.
For example, one study done by Harvard Medical School and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania showed that “Researchers randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group—assigned to work on a different day—received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fundraising calls than those who did not.” That’s a remarkable difference and something that any of us can do.
I think we could all agree that when genuine gratitude is given, it makes both the sender and the receiver feel valued. A simple way to step into this action is to take five minutes at the end of the day and replay the interactions you had with family, friends, or co-workers. Next, pick one person from those interactions and send a heartfelt message of gratitude in a text or email for something specific that you’re thankful for.
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It can be for any number of things. The most important thing is that it be genuine and honest. Commit to doing this for the next seven days and see how life changing this can be for both you and those you’re extending gratitude to.