The #1 Career-Boosting Habit for 2020: Gratitude

There is a new habit you can choose in the new year to transform your career; showing more gratitude has the power to increase your happiness and those around you! It is so simple, yet studies show it is one of the most powerful daily habits you can build into your life. Whether you choose to tell someone “thank you” or you write them an email or note, neuroscience says gratitude rewires your brain and gets amazing results! It changes how people perceive you and it changes how you see the world.

Lack of gratitude is one of the major drivers for team stress, turnover, absenteeism, burnout and overall job dissatisfaction. A Glassdoor study found that 80% of people are motivated to work harder when they feel appreciated. Here are the top three ways gratitude can make the new year your best year yet! 

1.  Gratitude Makes You Happier – You may be familiar with the age-old question, “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” Likewise, “Which comes first: happiness or gratitude?” People mistakenly think they must first be happy to be grateful. But studies say the opposite is true. Once you are grateful, happiness follows! Psychologists from two prominent universities conducted a study on gratitude. They focused on three groups of people for ten weeks: the first group was asked to write down what they were grateful for each day. The second group was asked to write down daily things that irritated them. The third group was asked to simply write down daily events. The group focused on gratitude was much more optimistic and positive about their lives; they experienced greater happiness. 

2.  Gratitude Makes You Healthier – The same university study revealed that the gratitude group was also healthier. They were much more physically active and less sick than those who only wrote about negative or neutral things! They reported higher self-esteem which can result in making better health decisions. The brain is an amazing creation! It acts like software; what you program into your brain daily determines what you get. Studies show when you focus on gratitude the part of your brain responsible for your emotional experiences (the limbic system) is activated. When you express gratitude the limbic system releases dopamine and serotonin, and those releases make you feel very good! Other research identifies additional health benefits linked to gratitude that include the following: more empathy, less stress, less pain, better sleep, less depression, less aggression and better metabolism. 

Benchmark Communications provides leadership and communication strategies to help leaders and teams reach their full potential with effective communication and soft skills. This represents the first in a series of articles on top career skills. If you would like to subscribe to this new series, contact us today or see the Subscribe Box on this page!

3.  Gratitude Transforms Teams – When you express gratitude there is a very good chance you will witness a ripple effect on your team. A scientist who studies happiness says when you express gratitude, it causes others to express gratitude back. Grateful teammates are more likely to volunteer and deliver more than what is required on projects. Recognition is very important to highly engaged employees and according to Gallup, engaged teams deliver up to 21% greater profitability! Research also shows thathappiness is contagious. Happy people on your team spread happiness to others. A good dose of happiness can protect your team from naysayers who spread negativity and kill team morale. So, showing gratitude is good for everyone!

Two Months to Form A New Habit

Expressing gratitude is so simple and all you need to do is make it a daily habit. If you aspire to be a better leader, team member or human – do it! A recent study says it takes a little over two months to form a new habit, so start now! Look for opportunities to express gratitude to those who help you each day. Not only does gratitude have the power to make you healthier and happier, it can also open new doors of opportunity in your career. Imagine what you can accomplish this year by setting your intention on being grateful! Try it and make this year your best year!

Other Leadership Articles:


Gail lives on a Texas ranch with her family and some wonderful animals! We support a horse therapy program for people with disabilities, as well as local animal shelters that rescue abandoned dogs and cats.

Benchmark has consulted with and coached leaders and organizations from all 50 USA states and more than 25 countries. The Benchmark team provides award-winning leadership and communication strategies to Fortune 500 groups so they can achieve their business, leadership and reputation management goals.