The world we live in today is different from the one our grandparents grew up in. In our fast-paced environments where everything seemingly happens at the speed of light, our current era can be, at best, described as a rat race and, at worst, seen as downright crazy.
There is nothing inherently wrong with fast, calculated movements and action. However, when such actions cause us to neglect simple courtesies and manners, that’s a whole new game and cause for concern. Many of us grew up with parents, grandparents and guardians who taught us about the importance of expressing gratitude to others. “Manners will carry you through the world,” my grandmother used to say. I didn’t quite understand what she meant at the time, but as I got older, I understood that being polite to others can bestow significant favor upon you.
Somewhere along the journey of being focused on becoming a person of success, we forget the fundamental principles on which we grew up. We can drift so far from the essentials of our upbringing. It surprises me when I go to some parts of my beloved country—beautiful Jamaica—and get blank stares when I say good morning to others. And it is not just in Jamaica, I travel a lot around the world and find this to be just as true with some persons.
Despite what is happening around us today, good manners and kindness will never out of fashion. There are those of us who insist on keeping it trendy. I spoke with engagement and retention expert Lisa Ryan on the idea of Grategy, a term she coined from the words gratitude and strategy, in an episode of The Entrepreneurial You podcast. In it, Lisa revealed that it is scientifically proven that grateful people are happier, healthier and nicer to be around, plus additional benefits.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF EXPRESSING GRATITUDE?
> It builds and strengthens relationships. When others know we need them in our lives and that they are contributing to our success, our relationship with them deepens.
> It improves health. Gratitude positively impacts our health, making us happier and healthier.
> It increases self-esteem. When we are grateful, our self-esteem heightens as it improves the way we feel about ourselves.
> It makes us nicer to be around. We can all do with a little more social capital; expressing gratitude to others makes us more appealing to others.
> It creates optimism. Gratitude shines the spotlight on the things we have, rather than complaining about the things we don’t have. This fosters a culture of abundance within us, making us optimistic about the future.
> It causes us to be more people-centered. Gratitude shifts attention away from ourselves and directs it to others.
> It feels good. When we express gratitude, it helps our mood and allows us to feel better about our circumstances and ourselves.
> It eliminates negative emotions. With a focus on positive energies and emotions, room for negative thoughts and feelings such as envy and jealously becomes smaller and smaller.
> It reduces anger. A practice of gratitude makes us more open to receiving negative feedback and strengthens us overtime.
HOW CAN WE CULTIVATE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE?
> Force yourself to look for the good in everyday situations and in those around you. “When you force yourself to look for the good, you can always find it. Start where you highlight the things that are going well. That’s when the magic happens,” says Lisa.
> Make a list of what you’re grateful for. Make it a habit by writing down the things that you are grateful for throughout the day, giving details about them.
> Develop a culture of appreciation for the people and things in your life.
> Verbally express your appreciation to those who have had a positive impact on your life.
> Write thank you notes and letters of appreciation to others. “When you tell someone you appreciate them, you create a beautiful memory; when you write it down, you give them a treasure,” explains Lisa.
> Meditate on the things you are grateful for.
> Start having positive conversations with yourself and others, focusing on the good. What you focus on gets magnified and manifested.
Give yourself the gift and power of gratitude. It will foster good manners and politeness. These qualities are essential to getting ahead and for being a great human being. The world needs it.
***This post first appeared on the Leadercast Blog.