Notes from the AVP – Gratitude
November 27, 2019
Greetings, TLED Team,
Next month marks three years since we became the Teaching and Learning Excellence Division (TLED), and in that time much has changed to create improved organizational structures, focused job descriptions, enhanced work environments and build a culture of collaboration and civility. We still have a way to go, but each of you has played a part in those changes and improvements that help the College support student success. I am grateful for each of your contributions and am counting on your continued commitment to that work as we move forward.
This week, as some of us are celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday, I wanted to send a very special note of thanks to all of you for excelling in your work responsibilities, providing optimum customer service, your dedication to the mission of student success, and passion for making a difference in the community we serve. As I personally give thanks for the many things in my life that have shaped my journey – the good and the not-so-good – I want to share with you the importance of gratitude as a key value in our work. From shared experiences to the research on gratitude, we know the impact of giving and receiving thanks make a difference in the workplace through improved physical and mental health, increased productivity, and increased job satisfaction. I want to share the following article with you that sheds some light on how this can impact our workplace environments.
1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or you send a quick thank-you note to that co-worker who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
2. Gratitudeimproves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
6. Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athlete’s self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem- grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
7. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday break and, if I don’t see you before, I will see you at our all-TLED meeting on Monday, December 9th, where Chelsea Biggerstaff and Jeff Johannigman, our very own Faculty Development Coordinators, will be hosting a brief session for us on the Five Languages of Appreciation.
|Susan M. Thomason, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President, TLED
Austin Community College District
5930 Middle Fiskville Rd. Austin, Texas 78752
512.223.7796 / 512.223.7667 | email@example.com