“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.”

Oprah Winfrey

Thanksgiving is around the corner and this is typically the time of year when “gratitude” is top of mind for many of us.

It is always great to think gratefully during Thanksgiving and the holiday season. And probably even more so this year with the election turmoil and uncertainty.

However, in doing research for this article, I have come to realize that there are many benefits to having an “attitude of gratitude” all year long, not just for one special day.

So, just what is gratitude? It encompasses appreciation, compassion, thankfulness and generosity.

Five Reasons why you should have an attitude of gratitude all year-long:

  • Gratitude Generates Social Capital

Gratitude makes us nicer, more trusting, more social, and more appreciative. All of these help to improve relationships, whether with a stranger, a recent acquaintance, or long time friend.

  • Gratitude helps improve physical and mental health—which makes us happier overall.

Grateful people report feeling better physically, with less aches and pains. And they even sleep better. Gratitude can also reduce negative emotions such as envy, resentment, and frustration.

  • wordcloud-gratitudeGratitude makes us less self-centered

The nature of gratitude is to focus on others and their benevolence; it encourages empathy and sensitivity towards others. With this new mindset, we are less inclined to push our own agendas.

  • Gratitude improves self-esteem

As others display acts of gratitude toward you, you will feel more confident. As you feel more confident, you will respect yourself more, display more respect towards others, improve you relationships and be happier. These are all components that lead to greater self-esteem.

  • Gratitude helps us lead more effectively and improves our careers (the big bonus!)

As a leader, you need a toolbox of skills. With the pressure all leaders are under in today’s work environment, it is so easy to fall prey to criticism. What would happen if you shifted the focus to praise and gratitude? Praise is a much better way to motivate others, effect change and improve morale.

In addition, an attitude of gratitude helps you network more effectively, make better decisions, increase your productivity, and attract career-changing mentors. All of these will increase the likelihood that you will reach your goals and have a more successful career

How can you adopt an attitude of gratitude?

Take a few minutes, either daily or weekly, and either write down or speak out loud what you are grateful for, and why. It may take a while to establish this ritual but once you do, it will become easier.

I’ve included a tool you can print out, put on your desk or night stand to inspire you, and use as part of your gratitude ritual. I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.