By: Penelope Trunk
Thanksgiving is a good time for your career, because practicing gratitude is good for your career.
For one thing, if you write a list of what you’re grateful for each day you are more likely to meet your most important personal goals, according to Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at University of California at Davis.
Susan Quandt found in her research that people who succeed at work are able to look at roadblocks as opportunities because of their inherently optimistic outlook, and this optimism helps people overcome obstacles. Many other researchers have concluded that one’s level of optimism, more than anything else, determines how happy they will be, because happiness is mostly about outlook.
Emmons writes in Science and Theology News that you can affect your level of optimism by practicing gratitude: “A grateful response to life circumstances may be an adaptive psychological strategy and an important process by which people positively interpret everyday experiences. Focusing on the gifts one has been given is an antidote to envy, resentment, regret and other negative states that undermine long-term happiness.”
Practicing gratitude is not that complicated, but of course, not everyone feels grateful toward family on Thanksgiving. Not all families are gems, and there’s a reasons that across the country Thanksgiving is the day for round-the-clock AA meetings. But even in this case, Thanksgiving hones workplace skills. The same skills you need to get along with difficult family are the skills you need to get along with difficult co-workers. Any you can be grateful for this opportunity to practice.