Friday, November 29, 2019

Lean Quote: Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"Feeling gratitude, and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it. — William Arthur Ward

November kicks off the holiday season with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. However, for many this time of year is tinged with sadness, anxiety, or depression. Research (and common sense) suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season can actually lift the spirits, and it's built right into the holiday — expressing gratitude.

According to research reported by Robert A. Emmons and Anjali Mishra, there are several scientifically supported ways gratitude helps us flourish. Here are four I found especially compelling:

1.     Gratitude reduces our stress. Thankfulness redirects our attention from our difficulties to the benefits we enjoy. It’s like creating a stockpile of good thoughts for when times are tough. It also helps us reframe our losses and stay connected emotionally to friends and family.

2.     Gratitude inoculates us from negative emotions. When we focus on what we don’t have or how our decisions could have turned out better, we leave room for resentment, envy, and regret to build. Gratitude can keep these feelings at bay.

3.     Gratitude sustains our relationships. Let me just ask, Do you like hanging out with people that gripe and complain? Me neither. It’s gratitude that draws people together, builds trust, and strengthens ties. That’s true in the workplace, among friends, in families, and between husbands and wives.

4.     Gratitude improves our health. Grateful people visit their doctors less often and live longer than others. The research shows that thankfulness helps us sleep better, control our blood pressure, and generally reduce physical complaints.


We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Given these four ways gratitude can benefit us, I’d say we have some very good reasons to return thanks more than once a year. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve. Cultivating gratitude makes each day worth living and might even give us more days.



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