If you care about living Catholic values at work, the place to start is with gratitude. Begin your work day with gratitude. And then end it the same way.
In recent years a host of research has confirmed the real, down-to-earth, empirical value of being grateful.
People who take just 20 minutes a week to write down the things for which they are grateful live happier, healthier, more purposeful lives. Even if the list is the same each week, the benefits of taking the time to focus on our blessings and to write them down are concrete.
The activity is life-changing – quite literally. When you do it, you are spending a tiny portion of your life being grateful, and that makes your life different.
It’s like listening to the radio. Your radio can connect you to many stations. But you can listen to just one at a time. Whichever one you choose, it makes a difference in your life. With one station you are entertained by humor. With another you are entertained by music you like. With yet another, you are informed.
So it is with being grateful. Decide to fill your head and heart with gratitude – even for a minute – and you are living a different life than if you did not fill that minute with gratitude and filled it with something else instead.
That’s the good news, Here’s the better news: Reflect on your blessings and write them down more often than once a week and it will do you even more good. Daily is not too often.
But apart from compiling gratitude lists or keeping a gratitude journal, it’s just good for us to reflect on our blessings and put ourselves in a place of gratitude at the start of the day. You can begin the day by being grateful for the day – your life in it and whatever additional opportunity that may provide. As the Irish like to say, “It’s a good day if you find yourself on the right side of the sod.”
Maybe you can find time for a little gratitude on the commute to work. Or if the drive is usually too stressful, once it’s over you can use a few minutes of reflective gratitude to wash away the stress as you walk from car to office.
And then don’t forget to be grateful on the way home from work, or before you retire for the night – or both.
Whenever you can, express your gratitude with generosity. Say thank you or send a thank you note.
- What General Colin Powell learned about expressing gratitude.
- Five reflection questions to help you foster gratitude in your workplace.