Building More Gratitude in our Daily Lives

In my previous team, we spent every morning listing three things we were grateful for. We would go around in a circle (which turned virtual as the Pandemic hit) listing one thing each, patiently waiting until someone had something to say. Originally we wanted to do this once a week, but we found that we would often forget, and the exercise lost value as we simply were not doing it often enough.

So we moved to saying the three things we were grateful for every morning in our team standup. At first this was really tough. We sat there, often grasping at straws at what possibly could be something positive in what felt a stressful job in the midst of a post-apocalyptic world. After all, it was rather tough to think about the positive when work pressures were high and there was so much negativity being bombarded at us every day through the news.

Over time though, we stuck at it. And like most things in life, we slowly got better at the exercise, and our examples also did too. We would note things that would happen throughout our lives and make a mental note of it for our morning round, which naturally made us remember these moments far more. Whether it was having a nice coffee break, relaxing in the evening to a nice meal, catching up with a long-lost friend, spending time with the kids or simply the sun coming out in the morning, we started verbalising these positive moments far more than we ever would have done otherwise.

For me personally, I found it a good way to bond with my team and open up about my own personal experiences. I could talk about the nice things I did outside my job (which can sometimes be a ‘taboo’), and make it far easier to build a positive spirit when facing upcoming challenges – something I had a particular vested interest in as the team lead. Like everyone else, I got much better at it over time, and I believe doing this over a good 6-9 months has had a lasting impression on me in making me realise I did little to appreciate the ‘good’ moments, instead mostly focusing on the bad.

There is science behind this: in a nutshell the brain is pretty good at focusing in on the negative. When we worry about something, our brain often looks to correlate other negative events that are similar. This often leads us spiralling downwards, and no matter how intelligent we may be, simply go more and more negative; and we are unable to think our way of this rabbit hole. So unless we do something to think about the positive in a deliberate way, we are more than likely to fall into this trap of descending into negativity.

Now gratitude is not saying that everything is perfect; it’s okay to be upset, disappointed and angry at the situation: what we are not talking about is some level of toxic positivity where everything must be good. The point of building exercise though, is to appreciate the positive moments more in our lives. And by doing so, we are more likely to be positive in our outlook. And whilst it may seem tough to find the time to constantly talk about the reasons you are grateful every day, it will lead you to be a happier, more fulfilled human being. And if that’s not incentive enough, remember that happier, more fulfilled human beings are also more successful ones.

So if you’re reading this and are looking for a way to be more grateful, perhaps try and list the things you are grateful currently in your life. You can either journal this, or say it to your partner or colleagues at work every day. It might take a little while, but it can help build appreciation of the nice things in life even when things are stressful or a bit tough going!

Sign up to receive your weekly newsletter with blogs and podcasts!

fill in for FREE workbook goodies

1 thought on “Building More Gratitude in our Daily Lives

  1. Antonio Naharro

    Thank you very much Tahmid for … the article, for … this text full of encouraging words that “just” have a huge charge of positivism and constructive attitude.
    Without a doubt I will put it into practice with my team or any team that I am part of.

Comments are closed.