Thanksgiving is upon us, which means millions of Americans will spend the next few days eating, shopping, and, most importantly, saying “thanks.”
But, according to Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, an “attitude of gratitude” is “way more powerful than just saying ‘thanks.'”
In fact, he says in a recent LinkedIn post that expressing gratitude will make you happier in both your professional and personal lives — and can even make you live longer.
He explains that people typically get happy or sad when “stuff happens,” but over time we gradually revert to a baseline level of happiness or sadness.
For example, a person might experience a spike in happiness when they land a new job or get a new car, he says, “but as the years pass, their happiness levels out.” This is called the “hedonic treadmill.”
But Google’s People Operations Analytics team recently found that being grateful — and expressing it — is the best way to maintaining those higher levels of happiness.
“[It’s] the secret weapon to workplace happiness and to warding off the malaise that can come with routine,” Bock says.
The research, which comes from Google’s gDNA study, a voluntary, longitudinal study of Google employees and former Googlers who answer a twice-yearly survey on a range of topics, revealed that employees who self-identify as more grateful are “largely immune to the sinking effects of tenure on satisfaction,” Bock says. “They stay happier, longer.”
The good news is, you can train yourself to be more grateful.
Happiness expert Shawn Achor, who spoke at Google’s re:Work Conference last month, suggests taking a couple minutes each day to express your gratitude. For example, he recommends writing down three new things for which you’re grateful, or spending two minutes each day praising or thanking a person you know, for 21 straight days.
“Spending two minutes a day being consciously, deliberately, mindfully grateful is perhaps the secret to happiness and a longer life,” Bock says. “I couldn’t think of a better lesson for Thanksgiving and for the holiday season. Gratitude creates a virtuous cycle: the more you express it, the happier you are. We are not stuck as ‘sad people’ or ‘happy people.’ We have a choice.”
Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.
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