Yes, it’s that time of year again … Walmart has had their Christmas decorations up for a month already, Costco hung their Christmas wreaths the day after Halloween, and the United Turkey of America wishes that the Grinch would steal Thanksgiving instead of Christmas.
Thanksgiving is just days away. Many of us will join our families for a huge family feast: a table filled with famous house specialties and kids happily staring at their favorite electronic gadgets for the entirety of a long weekend.
But let’s take a look at our other family. We spend 8.5 hours at work, 8 hours sleeping (if we’re lucky) and 7 hours doing everything else. What does it mean? It means that we spend more time with our coworkers than with our friends and family combined. Most of the time we’re busy running to meetings, meeting our deadlines and then quickly moving on to the next hot item on our to-do list.
Let’s stop, look around and move our gratitude practice beyond the Thanksgiving table to our workspace. Not surprisingly, research shows the positive effects of gratitude at work: less stress, fewer sick days, more commitment and a higher level of overall happiness. This week, I would highly encourage each of you to get up and walk over to your favorite person from your office family. Tell this person how you feel, tell them that you are looking forward to seeing them every morning, that they make you smile. Make somebody feel special! Believe me, I would appreciate it if somebody would do it to me. A simple practice of offering thanks to your colleagues has been proven to make YOU feel happier as well.
This is all great, but how we can move it beyond Thanksgiving week? Let’s make gratitude a part of our work culture. Let’s say “thank you” often or drop a mini-cupcake on somebody’s desk as a small token of appreciation. Maybe write a nice Post-it note and leave it on their desk. This fairly small effort can go a long way!