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How to foster an attitude of gratitude

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From the pages of In Business magazine.

I’ve recently started to notice a topic trending more and more in business publications. It isn’t marketing, operations, budgeting, or any of the numerous other standard business issues. The topic I am talking about is happiness. I think the rise of this topic can be partially attributed to the increasing number of millennials in the workforce. This newer generation of workers is more focused on work-life balance than previous generations. Not only are 20-somethings and 30-somethings looking for a job to pay the bills, they are looking for a career that gives them freedom to pursue things they are passionate about and helps them fulfill their life’s “purpose.”

The start of one’s career can be a difficult and stressful time, with many big changes and decisions in the works. From careers to relationships and family life, it is easy to get overwhelmed with day-to-day decisions and “to-do’s” and lose your feeling of happiness. Since I believe being happy is a key factor in not only being productive and successful at work but also living a full life, I want to share one simple way you can increase your happiness in only two minutes a day!

One emotion that is commonly linked to happiness is gratitude. Being thankful and showing your gratitude for others is something that seems simple but is often overlooked. I recently read John Kralik’s A Simple Act of Gratitude. It was a really fast read with a great message, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an uplifting book. Kralik, an attorney, tells a true story about a time in his life when he was facing many difficulties and struggles in both his business and personal life. After he noticed that writing a simple thank-you note improved his mood, he made it a goal to write one thank-you note a day for a year. The changes he experienced in his life and overall outlook were remarkable. 

I would like to extend a similar challenge to you. Maybe writing 365 thank-you notes in a year seems a bit overwhelming, but how about one a week? Not only are handwritten thank-you notes a great way to help you focus on the positive in your life, they are also a great way to differentiate yourself. In a world where we send and receive thousands of emails each year, how fun is it to actually get a piece of handwritten mail, especially a thank-you note? The two minutes it takes you to write and send the card will leave a lasting impression on the recipient.

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