Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seemed to go right? Maybe you experienced something like this earlier in the week with the slippery snow and ice that hit the Midwest. If you spent the morning skidding through your commute, only to face an even more difficult day at the office, you might not be in the Thanksgiving spirit. But, know that your low-energy days don’t have to be so bleak.
I have one simple cure to get you back to your old self: gratitude. Even though this sounds like something we should all do anyway, gratitude has scientifically proven physical and psychological benefits. Plus, it’s one of the most effective ways to become not only a better leader but a better person.
However, gratitude isn’t usually something that just comes to you on a cold and slushy Thursday. Everyday gratitude is a muscle that you must work to strengthen. Try this today: Set aside a few minutes for yourself to reflect on the things that went right. Depending on your day, this can be harder than it sounds. Think about all the people and all the little interactions that made it all possible.
This practice will refocus your mind and get your attention back on the positives. Then, you can return to your team as the leader they need to pull them out of their negativity, too.
For me, one of the fastest ways to relieve stress is to write thank-you notes. Frankly, it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when you are praising and thanking others. I keep a notepad sitting on my desk just in case the moment strikes me, or if I need to reset my outlook. When I start to feel overwhelmed or overly negative, I stop and write four or five notes. I feel even better knowing that, while these thank-you notes reenergize me, they may have an even greater impact.
As we celebrate another season of gratitude, I’m reminded of the people who helped me build the life I live now. I encourage you to think of who those people are for you. Let them know how their support has changed you and express how thankful you are to have them in your life.
If you make a commitment this coming year to express a little gratitude each day, I promise you will be not only a more positive person but a better leader.