Thankfulness has been said to be a key component in happiness and an important tool to up your satisfaction with life – and work.
Thanks to the positive psychology gurus at the University of Pennsylvania, you can measure your level of gratitude. In six simple questions, Dr. Martin Seligman – often credited as the father of positive psychology – offers a tool to test your thanks. (An easy registration is required for this quiz.)
In his own words, Seligman says gratitude amplifies good memories of the past. He offers an exercise in expressing gratitude. Think of it as a way to throw out bad memories to make room for the good.
How does this apply to the workplace? Writing on happiness on the job in her HarvardBusiness.org blog, London-based executive coach Gill Corkindale explains it this way:
“It all comes down to choice, and this is where I believe happiness lies. In choosing — as far as you are able — what you want to do and how you will do it. While not all of us can choose our work and colleagues, we can all choose how we approach things — with an open, optimistic, and positive outlook or with a frustrated, irritated one. To this end, I suggest you look at the work of positive psychologists such as Martin Seligman and Tal Ben-Shahar, whose course on happiness at Harvard has been inspirational for many students.”
It’s important, today more than ever, to recognize the importance of tools like gratitude to amplify the happiness we all have in our work. This is happening in the most unlikely of places. In England, the British government has appointed economist Richard Layard to the post of “Happiness Czar” to bolster the happiness of its citizens. It’s certainly worthwhile, in our own lives, our own work, and our own organizations, to look at how to be thankful and boost our own happiness quotient.
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