Management & Organization

Gratitude makes your coworkers more satisfied, you healthier and your marriage happier

Your mother wasn't completely wrong, when she tried to teach you to say “thank you”. Research within a wide range of areas show that good old fashioned gratitude has a positive effect on, among other things, your work life, your relationship and perhaps more surprisingly;  your health.

A well-executed “thank you” to your coworkers can make a big difference. Not only do coworkers who feel appreciated display greater job satisfaction and willingness to put in more hours at work, they are better at developing positive relations and actively works towards the company’s goals. Coworkers that feel appreciated also becomes happier.

And happy coworkers is what you must strive for. Happy people are more successful on a range of areas:

  • Their marriages are happier.
  • They are better at forging friendships.
  • They make more money.
  • They are healthier.
  • Their work performance is better.

Once you are happy, you enter a positive spiral where happiness leads to success, which leads to happiness that leads to success etc.

Or in the words of a researcher:

“(…) because happy people experience frequent positive moods, they have a greater likelihood of working actively toward new goals while experiencing those moods.”

You will become healthier

Saying thank you isn't only good for the person being thanked. It's also beneficial for the one that's thankful. This was shown in an experiment, where a group of test subjects were asked to keep a gratitude journal. Once every week they had to write five things they were grateful for. Another group had to write things that they were dissatisfied with.

After ten weeks the grateful ones were averagely 25 % happier than the “grumpy”, mentioned fewer health problems and exorcised on average 1.5 hours more.

Your marriage becomes happier

Dr. John Gottman from Washington University worked with couples and their marriages a long time. And through the years he's developed a method where after having watched a couple’s conversation for a few minutes, he's able to predict if their marriage will last or not with 90 % certainty. According to Dr. Gottman the formula for a happy marriage is a ratio between negative and positive interaction of 1:5. Every time you have one negative experience, it takes 5 positives to cancel it out.

And guess what you can do to strengthen your marriage is? Say thank you to your partner.

Become more satisfied, healthier and happier in three steps

Let's sum up. To be more satisfied, healthier and happier you must:

  1. Keep a journal, where you once every day jot down three things you are grateful for. You could do this right before going to bed or just after getting up in the morning.
  2. Make it a daily routine to tell your spouse, partner, friend, colleague or coworker something that you value about them.
  3. When you brush your teeth, look in the mirror and think of something that recently went well, or something that you like about yourself.

Create a culture of gratitude

If gratitude is something you want to do something about on your workplace, you can work on creating a culture where saying thank you is a natural part of every day. This can be done by:

  1. Helping other people develop. Research show that 70 % of employees feels appreciated in their job, when they get the opportunity to grow and develop. This can be done through promotions, but also through other initiatives such as education, involvement in new interesting projects, and participation in expert groups or new areas of responsibility.

  2. Involving your employees. Your employees feel valued when they are given the opportunity to participate in decision processes, problem-solving and to use their abilities in favor of the organization. American research even show that almost 63 % of employees believe that the possibility of using their abilities is the biggest source of job satisfaction.

  3. Supporting good camaraderie. A good relationship between coworkers can lead to greater job satisfaction, engagement and better performances. This could for instance be created by encouraging social activities that aren't work-related.