How To Create A Happier Work Environment Through Appreciation
“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes world you see” – Dr Robert Holden
Here at Gifted we believe in the power of appreciation. So, we thought why not delve a little deeper to find out why it makes us feel so good and how appreciation can change your working environment.
What was your happiest moment in life?
Most of us will pinpoint a life-changing event. Whether that’s your wedding day, hearing the first cry of your newborn child, graduating or getting that dream job... Such moments are of course memorable because they are so rare.
However, recent studies have confirmed the ancient wisdom - happiness is not about single, earth-shattering moments. It is about the countless little moments that may seem too insignificant to recall.
The snugness of warm socks on a cold morning.
Birdsong outside your window. A nice cup of sweet tea.
Shift your perspective
Learning to be acutely aware of these moments. When you choose to stop and give them focused appreciation when they happen, you can actually alter the way your mind works. Appreciation changes the chemicals in your brain and boosts your happiness levels multiple times a day. It’s commonly known as living in the moment, or savoring. Essentially, it means being attentive. If you notice all of the good things that happen in your day, you will feel happier.
The science of gratitude
Human beings operate on a hedonic treadmill. This means, as individuals, we generally stabilize at one level of happiness. So yes, certain things can make you happier but this is only a temporary boost - like going on holiday or watching your favorite movie again. You will feel happier but this is only temporary. Your general level stays more or less constant. The same goes for lows.
In 1978, three researchers studied two sets of people, recent big-win lottery winners and recent victims of catastrophic accidents, now paraplegic or quadriplegic. After one year, the accident victims actually rated themselves with higher levels of happiness than the big-win lottery winners! So,
happiness is all about perspective…
The correlation between appreciation & happiness
A study was done by Robert Emmons and Robin Stern, “Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention” shows that expressing gratitude is scientifically proven to make you happier. This study looked at 300 people, split into 3 groups, that were asked to take daily walks. The first group focused on the positive things that could be found, the next group noted all of the negative things. The third group was instructed to walk just for the exercise.
At the end of the year, those who had deliberately targeted positive cues were happier than before the experiment, had a better level of well-being, better sleep and more exercise. The negatively focused subjects were less happy, and the just plain exercisers scored in between.
Being actively grateful will make you a happier person
The above research proves that you see what you look for. This means you can actively train yourself to be happy, instead of passively waiting for happiness to find you - by simply expressing gratitude.
This is why it feels so good to gift. You give yourself the time to recognize who you are grateful for and all the reasons why. In turn, you bring happiness to that other person by expressing your appreciation. It’s a wonderful cycle of pure goodness.
Appreciation and the workplace environment
Businesses that have happy employees achieve better success rates and company outcomes, receiving a positive return on investment in staff wellbeing. Not only this, they are also more likely to feel more confident in their work and more fulfilled.
Therefore, staff are better equipped to communicate with their team, clients and colleagues and are less likely to leave their position. By using mindfulness practices as tools to boost our happiness, calm stress and reduce anxiety, we naturally feel happier, which leads to higher productivity rates!
How to encourage mindfulness as an employer
Gift your employees with the idea of spending time clearing their minds. Whether that comes in the form of yoga or sports gear as a gift card (which you can get started on here), online workshops for breathing techniques or gifting them stationary like diaries and encouraging them to write their thoughts down at the end of the day. You can create Your Appreciation Program here - to build a happier working environment, which will, in turn, lead to a more productive one!