A little gratitude can do wonders at work

A little gratitude can do wonders at work

It only takes a moment to offer a kind word, but the benefits it can bring to your colleagues can be substantial. In fact, new research shows being thanked more often at work can make someone feel and sleep better.

Researchers at Clemson and Portland State universities studied a group of 146 registered nurses, a profession known for high stress and burnout. For 12 weeks, the nurses completed surveys describing their positive and negative experiences at work and home.

Receiving more work compliments within a week was related to greater job satisfaction. That, in turn, led to better quality and more adequate sleep, fewer headaches and more interest in healthy eating. The findings were published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

The dynamics of the way gratitude is processed and experienced, researchers noted, are also complex. The interactions with thankful patients, families and co-workers may be more beneficial to physical health than a simple accumulation of verbal compliments.

For the nurses in the study, being thanked was a source of positive recognition about their performance that led to better psychological and physical well-being. That’s because nurses often strongly align their profession with their identity, researchers said, creating a positive loop of job satisfaction and improved self-care. Overall, employees who get positive feedback are healthier. So, bosses take note: Fewer headaches and stress-related symptoms means fewer sick days.

The takeaway message is simple: Be thankful — and let your colleagues know that — when you see them doing a good job.

Related Episodes