Thriving Through Thankfulness: The Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude. It can be a tough word for you to think about when times are tough, but the evidence is overwhelming… Gratitude is a game-changer. 

You may think that gratitude journaling or simply being grateful is a little “woo woo” in a spiritual sense, but scientific evidence says it goes beyond that. 

Several studies have shown that gratitude leads to several positive outcomes: 

  • Helps increase happiness. 
  • Provides the brain with lasting benefits. 
  • Improves positive recall. 
  • Deepens a person’s resilience. 
  • Improves immune and heart health. 
  • Calms the nervous system.

These benefits go well beyond simply feeling good. Each of these benefits is directly linked to an ability to help you live a healthier, happier life! 

When you incorporate the practice of gratitude into your daily life, it’ll trickle into your work life. For example, a 2017 survey of employees found that companies that expressed gratitude regularly to their employees & customers experienced the following benefits: 

  • More positive emotions among employees. 
  • Less stress and fewer health complaints.
  • A greater sense that we (the company) can achieve our goals.
  • Fewer sick days.
  • Higher satisfaction with jobs and coworkers.
  • Creates a sense of belonging and respect at work.

Not only does gratitude make people happier, but it can also make them more money in increased productivity.

In a 2019 Global Happiness and Well-Being Policy Report, the Global Happiness Council estimated that “a meaningful increase in well-being” may lead to an increase of roughly 10% in productivity. 

A good corporate culture often shows gratitude towards their employees in a number of ways that go beyond simply buying them tacos on Tuesday or getting them a ping pong table in the break room. 

Leadership Performance Coach & HR Expert Anne Laguzza says, “My favorite way to express gratitude to employees is a personal acknowledgment. Every employee knows their supervisor is extremely busy and has too much on their plate, so when a supervisor takes time out of their day for eye-to-eye time to specifically acknowledge them for something, it goes a LONG way! This is more than simply saying, ‘Hey, good job,’ but going deeper by saying something like: ‘I really appreciated that you knew I was on a tight deadline and you helped me by taking on that extra responsibility to help us move this project forward.’ Be very specific and straightforward as simply a way to say thank you. Don’t make it part of a meeting, don’t include anything extra – just a thank you. It will stand out to them so much, and they will remember it for a long time.” 

It doesn’t take much to show gratitude to employees and those around you. As a leader, your words can have a meaningful impact. 

How to Practice Gratitude

You don’t need a complex procedure to express gratitude. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or deeply complex. 

It can be as simple as observing your surroundings, regardless of where you’re sitting. Are you inside? Think to yourself, “What am I grateful for here?” 

Are there pleasant smells? Any sights that bring you joy? Be grateful for having your sense of smell and having eyesight. 

One of my favorite practices of gratitude is to pray. 

When I pray, I give thanks for all that I have. This shifts my focus from asking for things, to one of gratitude for all that I have; things that I tend to take for granted each day. 

  • The physical ability to walk, see, hear, smell, touch, taste. 
  • Modern comforts that others in the world don’t have like clean drinking water, a faucet with on-demand running water, electricity at the flip of a switch, heating, air conditioning, WiFi, a bed to sleep in. 
  • Luxuries that I never give thanks for until they malfunction like my cars, cell phone, laptop computer, and so many more. 
  • People we take for granted for each day- Our wives, husbands, children, parents, friends, relatives, co-workers. 

Praying for others and their struggles and challenges is a reminder of all the many blessings I have. When my focus shifts to others, my problems seem so much smaller. 

Please understand carefully what I’m saying here… It’s not that your problems are insignificant. Your problems, challenges, and struggles are real. They matter. 

But, if we were to stand among 100 random people and toss all of our problems into a big pile, the chances are that we’d want to keep our own compared to what others are dealing with. 

I’ve found that by focusing on gratitude, my attitude shifts from being focused all on myself to that of service. Providing service and aid to others fills me up, makes me happy, and helps give me a better attitude to handle the difficulties in my life. 

What are you thankful for? Take inventory of that list. 

Take out your journal and write down 3 things you’re grateful for.  It should take you three minutes. It’s three minutes well-spent because, after a couple of weeks of writing down 3 items a day, you begin to notice many more things in your life that are worth being grateful for!

The Science of Gratitude

If you’ve read or studied the Reticular Activating System, known for short as the RAS, you’ve seen this example… 

Let’s say that you have your heart set on purchasing a new car – a black Ford F-150 pickup truck. 

What happens after you’ve decided on this car? 

You begin to notice all of the black Ford F-150’s driving on the road! You may even see cobalt Ford F-150’s thinking that they are black. Everywhere you turn, on the road, highway, parking lots, you name it – you’re going to see black Ford F-150’s. 

The RAS is a series of nerves that sits in your brainstem and is often called the “gateway” between your conscious and subconscious mind. 

Without getting too technical, the RAS is a filter. It determines what stimulus it makes your conscious brain aware of on an ongoing basis. 

This is why when you’re focused on a particular vehicle, your brain begins to notice it everywhere you go. 

Your brain does the same thing when you’re focused on other things. 

Do you know the old saying, “when it rains, it pours?” That’s the RAS at work. 

There are times when the RAS works against us, seemingly attracting nothing but negative thing after negative thing. 


Because that’s what you’re focused on. If you’re focused on nothing but the negative, your actions will line up to make the negative come to fruition. It’s your brain simply doing its job. 

So, let’s use this to our advantage regarding gratitude. 

If you constantly focus on all that you’re grateful for, your brain will be keyed in on all that you should be thankful for. It’s going to show you these seemingly insignificant things that it wants you to remember because you’ve put your focus on them each day.  

When you focus on gratitude daily, I’d encourage you to watch what that does for your attitude. 

  • What do you think it’ll do for you and how you show up to sales calls? 
  • How do you think it’ll help you when problems and struggles appear? 
  • Do you think that you may be a little bit more emotionally resilient to handle tough times?

Gratitude truly is a key that unlocks your greater potential. It gets your mind primed for success by having you look for the positive, makes you resilient, and puts you into a posture where you’re constantly giving thanks for all you have. 

It puts you in an abundance mindset which helps you realize how much truly exists in the world. There are more than enough clients, customers, money and resources for you to obtain. 

I recommend listening daily to Coach Gavin McHale’s meditation: Money Mindset Visualization, as it is a great priming tool to get you focused on gratitude and abundance. As he says in this exercise, “There is always enough.” 

Now, it’s your turn. 

What is something that you can implement into your life to get you into a regular practice of gratitude? Is it a quick three-minute journaling session? Maybe it’s a morning prayer of thanks? Could it be practicing gratitude while walking each day? 

Pick a practice and incorporate it into your daily habits…watch how your mindset, your personal life, and your work life begin to transform.