How to Use Gratitude as a Tool for Productivity and Happiness

If you spend 8 hours at a job that you hate, thinking about how much you hate it, counting down the hours until it’s over, and daydreaming about what you’d rather be doing instead, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to go home after work and happily research new career options, update your resume, and write an amazing cover letter.

Why?

Because those things take positivity and energy and you just spent 8 hours of your day pouring all of your energy into negative thoughts.

Whatever tone of thoughts we think will breed more thoughts of the same tone. Positivity breeds more positivity. Negativity breeds more negativity. Energy is contagious just as lack of energy is contagious. So, what I’m saying is if we focus on what’s not working in our life, more things will continue to not work in our life.

This is where gratitude comes in. Gratitude plays such an important role in our success and happiness. Being grateful for all that we have is of course important but it’s almost too easy. Being grateful or rather finding the positive in our current situation (even if it’s unpleasant, even if we are not where we want to be, even if we are not getting to where we want to go as fast as we think we should be going) is what will breed the momentum for us to actually implement the changes that we want in our life.

Here are 5 tips to help you introduce gratitude into your life and use it as a way to boost productivity & happiness:

1. AWARNESS

Be grateful that you even have the awareness that you should be searching for the good, positivity, or lesson in your situation. Before you had the awareness, you were destined to stay on the same path and well, now? You’re destined for change.

2. BENEFITS

Make a list of all of the benefits you get from your current situation. Here is an easy example: If you’re looking to change your career maybe your current gig provides you with benefits, paid time off, flexible scheduling, hilarious co-workers, a pay check, the ability to end your day at 5pm, the ability to start your day at 10am, the freedom to work from home, the opportunity to save for your retirement, a great manager that you can learn from, a terrible manager that teaches you what not to do. You get the idea, right? There has to be something. Write it down.

3. LEARNINGS

Every negative situation that we are in provides us an opportunity to learn something new. It’s up to us to either feel sorry for ourselves, stay stuck and frustrated, or choose to look for the learning. Make a list of all the things you are learning from your present situation. Again, maybe you’re learning what not to do. Maybe you’re learning about a business that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Maybe you’re learning about how to give and receive feedback or manage a team - even if it’s not a long term goal of yours. Think about this and write it down.

4. ELIMINATE NEGATIVE TALK

Eliminate negative talk around your current situation. Don’t allow yourself to say or think negative thoughts about your current situation. Don’t allow yourself to participate in anyone else’s negative talk - not even as a listener! This will be hard but resist the urge. If you feel negative thoughts creeping in (and they totally will because you’re human, right?) pull out your list of benefits and stay focused on the good. If you feel like you’re getting pulled into someone else’s negative talk try saying something like “Wow, that sucks. What are you going to do to change that?” -- in other words, keep your conversations focused on a solution.

5. Make good use of your time

Now that you’ve acknowledged all of your benefits and learnings and you’ve eliminated the negative talk, you’re going to find a few bursts of energy coming your way. It’s time to make really good use of your time off and put some plans in action. If you already know the changes you want to make in your life, schedule chunks of your time off to start chipping away at change. If you’re completely unaware of what changes you want to make, schedule chunks of time to simply think, research, dream big, and explore what’s out there. Yes, actually schedule this stuff in your calendar.  

Ok, party people. These articles and information are nothing if we don’t take some action. Make your lists, and schedule your new found energy into your calendars, right now. Or at the very least, schedule time to do these exercises into your calendar & let me know in the comments below how it goes.

Can’t wait to hear from you and as always, thank you so much for reading and sharing!

Amy K Hall