“Positive technology” made a buzz at the American Psychology Association’s annual conference this past week in Washington, D.C., and proponents say it is a tool to “habitually cultivate little pockets of happiness” and boost gratitude in our interactions at work and with family and friends.
“Being thankful matters, it works,” said Robert Emmons, one of two psychology professors who presented their research on positive technology uses at the conference and discussed it with psychotherapist and Philadelphia Inquirer correspondent Diane R. Girardot.
But to reap the benefits of gratitude, people need to remember to be grateful. And that’s where positive technology comes in.
There’s a lot of gloom and doom in the conversation about how Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets affect our everyday lives. The temptation to brag online or share only the best-looking parts of our lives can lead to “keeping up with the Jones”-type anxiety and to depression from not measuring up to others (even as they feel the same about us…).
But Emmons and fellow researcher Acacia Parks argue that, approached in the right way, social media can actually help us document our gratitude to better appreciate it and inspire others to do the same.
Parks is a consultant for Happify, an app with activities and games based on gratitude research. According to the company website, Happify is “designed to train your brain and help you build skills for lasting happiness,” with a goal of showing you “effective and measurable results.”
Happify is based on what Parks has found to be the steps toward greater happiness and building a gratitude habit: savor, thank, aspire, give and empathize.
Happify is only one of a plethora of gratitude tech aides that can sound alarms, facilitate daily journaling and help users schedule and keep up with gratitude tasks. WoW (WorkOnWellbeing.com) is another new online tool that helps track individual and corporate wellness.
Everyday social media sites can also be used for the same purposes. According to Emmons, “social media like Facebook and Twitter are great memory aids as well as venues to relay thankfulness.”
Think about how you’re using social media now. When you share information about your life online, are you mindful of how it affects others and how it ultimately affects you? If you’re socially connected online with coworkers or employees, how do you share your virtual gratitude with them? If you manage a workforce, how can you use “positive technology” to bring gratitude and happiness to your workplace?
However you go about it, inspiring workplace gratitude means being a role model for everyday appreciation.
For a step-by-step guide with practical tips to get you started on building a vibrant culture of appreciation, download our FREE e-book, “Workplace Gratitude.”
Click the image below and start sharing your workplace gratitude today!
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