When you’re trying to up your productivity game, the very last thing you want to do is another thing. But adding thankful practices to your to-do list can actually help you get more done.
Being thankful can strengthen your immune system and reduce your stress levels, leaving you with the physical and emotional bandwidth to take on all your assignments and then some. They can even put a number on it; students who took a “Happiness” class at Stanford reported a 27 percent decrease in stress levels. That’s right. Though it seems counterintuitive, augmenting your daily routine with rituals that make you feel thankful can make you more productive.
What’s a Thankful Practice?
According to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, gratitude is an emotion that isn’t just experienced—it’s cultivated. They define gratitude as the feeling you get when you notice good things that are happening not because of you, but around you—a feeling that strongly influences your mental and physical well-being.
But wait there’s more! You can upgrade feelings of gratitude to thankfulness when you allow those good feelings to motivate you toward service, which magnifies your positive emotions, and surely you can see why this is a good idea.
There are lots of things you can do to be proactively thankful. Deliberately looking for good things around you, writing down what you’re thankful for or publicly expressing gratitude are all good ways to jumpstart the benefits of thankfulness, including greater efficiency at work. With that in mind, here are five scientifically proven ways being thankful makes you more productive.
Less stress means you can tackle more. Psychologists have found that cortisol (the stress hormone) is 23 percent lower in thankful people than those who don’t embrace thankful habits.
Scientific studies have shown that thankful veterans experience lower rates of PTSD and that thankfulness was linked greater resilience after the Sept. 11 attacks. Bouncing back quickly and often allows you to recover from disappointments easily and move on to the next item on your list.
Increased Physical Health
Illness slays productivity. Luckily, being thankful is a proven immune system booster. If you don’t have to brake for sniffles, you can check off your assignments and pick up someone else’s just to be nice.
You’ve got to be well rested to do your best work. Studies show that spending just 15 minutes writing down what you’re thankful for results in a better night’s sleep.
Interpersonal strife is a time suck (not to mention a huge bummer). Feeling thankful plays a huge part in strengthening and maintaining relationships, allowing you to focus your attention on the task at hand.
Whether you are a buzzing worker bee at the office or powering through your weekend chores, try adding “be thankful” to your to-do list. It won’t diminish your duties, but it will give you the clarity and strength to conquer them. And you can be thankful for that.