As humans we tend to focus on the negative side of things. In fact, our brains are hard-wired to dwell more on the negativity in our lives. If not treated, our wellbeing can lead to more serious mental health issues like anxiety and depression can threaten our wellbeing. How do we get out of it?
During a recent Ted Talk, A.J. Jacobs speaks about gratitude and the importance of incorporating it into our daily lives. He emphasizes five different teachings to learn how to develop this attribute. Living with gratitude opens our eyes to the acts of kindness in our world, noticing the small efforts that goes into every task and broadening empathy for people. It is important to learn gratitude and how to apply that into the workforce as well. A simple message of encouragement and thanksgiving can add motivation and pass on a gratifying attitude to your coworker or boss. Here are the five different lessons Jacobs teaches.
1. Look up.
You never know what state someone is in till you give them the opportunity to notice them. We are so focused on ourselves and what tasks we need to complete for the day, it is important to treat people like an actual human-being. Make eye-contact and realize they have a story.
2. Smell the roses. And the dirt. And the fertilizer.
What Jacobs meant by this sentence, is savor every chance you get. Often times, we are in a hurry to get somewhere and don’t even notice the people that are right in front of us. Take time to smile, give thanks and make small talk. You never know what the conversation could lead to and how it may impact the other person. Little moments of connection are fundamental to humanity. Jacobs stated, “gratitude is about taking a moment and holding onto it as long as possible.” Life already goes in a blink of an eye. Enjoy every moment because you never know which will be your last.
3. Find the hidden masterpieces all around you.
Focus on the things that go right every day. Even if it’s something as small as getting every green light on your way to work, noticing these small things and acknowledging them can boost your mood and redirect your mind to a positive outlook.
4. Fake it till you feel it.
It can be hard to program your mind to feel something when you are not in the right mindset. Start by acting like you are grateful and soon you will start to feel it. The mind is powerful, but so is behavior and it can alter our thoughts to compassion and positivity.
5. Practice six degrees of gratitude and use gratitude as a spark to action.
The faster you practice these steps, the more likely you will be able to learn lessons and exemplify appreciation for the world. We all take things for granted, but gratitude leads to being more open-minded, detail-oriented and thankful for minor actions in life.
“The more grateful you are, the more likely you are to help others.” -A. J. Jacobs