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Practicing Gratitude Enriches Your Life and Career

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Nikki Barnett, Director of Career Development

As we approach the holiday season, thankful feelings are starting to fill our minds — for our families, friends, and if we’re lucky, our jobs, co-workers and bosses.

During this time of year, in sort of a ritualistic way, we are metaphorically nudged to think about and recognize what’s right in our lives, instead of what’s not going as planned. If practicing gratitude is a strength, you are probably often aware of the good things that happen to you, and take the time to express thanks in all areas of your life, including your career.

Is gratitude a character strength you have to work on?

If you’re not sure, complete this Gratitude Quiz developed by psychologists Mitchel Adler and Nancy Fagley, and published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Use this quiz as a way to be more mindful of what to observe in your life and to start learning how to develop an “attitude of gratitude.”

If you’re seeking to learn how to recognize the good in your life and outside yourself, read further. Here are three ways to become more grateful in your life and career.

  1. Make it a point to be aware of others’ positive words or actions. Let’s face it — we can get caught up in our own stories and completely miss kind gestures from someone else. Challenge yourself to search for and remember three good things that happen throughout your day and write about why you feel good about them. The more you deliberately cultivate gratitude, the easier it will become to recognize the good things happening in your life. Further, implement the 5-3-1 Practice from the Center for Healthy Minds.
  2. Notice the small things. If you are too busy searching for the BIG wins at work in order to start expressing your gratitude, you are probably missing out on cultivating great work relationships and ignoring the many small things you should be thankful for. Developing an appreciation for the things in your life — big and small — benefits your connection with others, as well as your physical and cognitive health.
  3. Find gratitude in your challenges. Pause and reflect on lessons learned through difficult times. Sometimes taking the time to explore your most challenging times can reveal what you have to be thankful for.

Alumni Career Services is pleased to offer you a variety of lifetime career services, tools and resources to help you in making lifelong career decisions. Whether you have recently graduated, are looking to enhance your skills and training or are ready to make a career change, we hope you will find this information helpful. Check out our Help Me Grow section!

— Nikki Barnett 

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