Why gratitude can improve our sense of self-worth

thank you

Gratitude can boost a sense of self-worth. (Pic: istockphoto.com/anyaberkut)

Never underestimate the power of thank-you. Gratitude bestows the giver and receiver with a sense of self-worth that is totally missing when a thank-you is absent or forgotten. This has been proven in research carried out by Francesca Gino from Harvard Business School. She discusses her findings in an article on the Harvard Gazette on The Power of Thanks.

Her psychology experiment showed that receiving an acknowledgement of feedback without gratitude produced a 25% level of self-worth among the receivers. However, 55% of the test group that received a thank-you alongside the feedback felt higher levels of self-worth. And more than double those who were thanked were likely to help the person out in the future (66% versus 32% who didn’t get a thank-you).

She says she hates to miss an opportunity to thank-you, as it is always worth the effort. “Receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people, too.”

Other articles I like on the subject of gratitude are The transformative power of gratitude on Psychology Today and How gratitude can change your life on The Change Blog. They’re full of tips on how to make gratitude a welcome, mindful and compassionate part of your life.

A simple tip is to keep a ‘gratitude book’. Write 10 things you’re grateful for every evening and spot what a difference it can make to your wellbeing.

Remember to count your blessings on International Happiness Day

ImageGenHappy International Happiness Day. The UN has decreed that the globe will be happy today. It has decided that a nation’s happiness will no longer be decided by its success or power but by the compassion and wellbeing of its people.

But I think happiness is more personal and a subtle than a group hug that wraps its arms around the globe. It’s an initiative to applaud, but each person’s happiness is surely individual? How do you define happiness? By reaching out to help someone? By having more meaning in your life? By spending time with loved ones? Or are you seeking that elusive happiness through work, relationships, money, belongings and status symbols?

Action for Happiness – “a movement for positive social change” – helpfully provides 10 keys to happier living. It also says that happiness comes from being grateful for what you’ve got rather than looking to all the things you’re living without. It says that “people who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier and more fulfilled”.

So perhaps today is for a day for counting our blessings. In the words of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, perhaps we can appreciate “the moments of life that is itslef but a moment”.