MENTAL HEALTH WEEK 2019 | The Power of Appreciation

Welcome to Mental Health Week 2019!

Appreciation and gratitude have an interesting effect on the brain for both those expressing it and receiving it. Gratitude has been studied closely in the organisational psychology field and the findings are quite surprising! Reward and recognition has become such a focus for businesses around the world so it is interesting to know that studies have found that simply by expressing genuine appreciation, employee productivity can increase by up to 50% for the following week! Feelings of gratitude increase the production of dopamine within the brain. This is the same neurotransmitter that is released when something good happens to us, just like receiving any other reward or gift. It has also been shown to result in healthier sleep habits, increase metabolism and reduce stress levels. Doing this regularly also promotes better self-esteem, group bonding and a more social and engaged workplace culture which in turn keeps the good vibes flowing.

There are also benefits for consistently showing appreciation or gratitude. Positive psychology research shows that appreciation is strongly associated with greater happiness. By consistently taking time to recognise the good in our lives, we make a habit of seeking out the positive parts of life. With repetition it eventually becomes automatic. Various studies have been done to try and explore the link between showing gratitude and improved well-being. A study that asked participants to write and personally deliver a letter of thanks  to someone who had never been properly thanked for their kindness found that the participants experienced an immediate dramatic increase in happiness scores. Follow up scoring revealed the effect lasted for a month afterward which made it the most effective exercise the study tested. Cultivating a gratitude practice is one way to bring this increased sense of happiness into your life and begin creating the habit of expressing appreciation. There are so many ways to do this. Some people make time to consciously recognise the positive parts of their life in prayer or meditation, others keep a daily gratitude journal, some write thank you notes or even just make a mental note and others simply take time to count their blessings regularly.

Appreciation in Practice

To start building our own culture of gratitude, we are doing a simple firm-wide appreciation exercise this week at Vincents – one that can easily be adopted for any business!

This morning each staff member at Vincents received a pack of five blank cards which we have encouraged them to write messages of gratitude on and hand out to their colleagues to let them know that they’re awesome. They are able to do this either all at once today, or take some time over this week to think about who they would like to show their appreciation for.  Everyone is encouraged to keep the cards that they receive, and at the end of this week they will be collected and used to make an Appreciation wall in our lunch room, the Ozone.

This simple task can get everyone in the workplace thinking about how much they appreciate their colleagues, and will get the dopamine pumping!

Happy Appreciation Day everyone!

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