HomeWhat's Your Balance?The importance of appreciation and gratitude

The importance of appreciation and gratitude

It’s such a simple thing to do.

Appreciating others for a job well done, or just expressing gratitude to someone for all the joy they bring into your life.

Recognition expressions we receive are always emotional in nature. Recognition is a felt phenomenon. Gratitude is simple and can have a positive impact on our relationships, physical health, mental health and self-esteem.

Just before my 10-year milestone with Alberta Health Services I was thinking “wow, I can’t believe I have been in this job for so long.” I was proud of myself but also felt a little bit of stress when thinking about it and wondering if I had missed other opportunities. Then a few days later, on my actual anniversary date, I received a hand-written card from my director, and another from my co-workers and manager. The thoughtfulness and care that was taken in writing the perfect messages to me, which included memories and reflections on my career, was very special. It prompted me to reminisce about events throughout my career thus far.

My favorite part of this was thinking back to the times that employees, physicians and volunteers have reached out to say thank you for the recognition they received. Whether the recognition they received was being nominated for a President’s Excellence Award, receiving a long-service milestone gift or being recognized in other ways, they told us these things make their day.

This reminded me why I am passionate about appreciation and the reason I work in Recognition Services. When I feel valued for my contributions, I am re-energized to help others feel their value.

Here are some quick tips on appreciation that you can use at work and at home:

•Showing gratitude to others improves relationships. Send a thank-you note to a friend or colleague—valuing others can lead to improved relationships and new opportunities.
•Gratitude can improve mental health. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, says “expressing gratitude can increase happiness and reduce depression.”
•Gratitude can enhance empathy and reduce aggression. Express gratitude not just to others, but also to yourself and acknowledge your value. This can be challenging but can help you to know who you truly are.
•Do you want to sleep better? Spend a few minutes each night writing down a few grateful sentiments before you go to bed.
•Gratitude is a big part of being resilient. Recognizing and appreciating all that you have to be thankful for, even during the hard times, promotes resiliency.

Remember – showing how much you appreciate someone only takes a moment, and it can have a positive impact on their mental health. What you might not know is it’s not just the person who receives appreciation who benefits – so does the person who shows appreciation and gratitude.

According to O.C. Tanner, a recognition specialist from the United States of America, “showing gratitude can increase a person’s wellness, increase better sleep habits, increase metabolism and lessen stress.”

So really, everybody wins! I encourage you to take some time today to show someone how much you appreciate them because, like I said, you’ll both benefit.

Was there a time when a note of appreciation turned your day around? Let us know below, and feel free to share how you show appreciation.

Join the conversation, and be inspired to think about your wellness!

Share what balance looks like to you, using #AHSwhatsyourbalance on social media. Or visit www.ahs.ca/whatsyourbalance to download the Wellness Scorecard to get started on your path to finding balance.


Please note the ‘What’ your balance?’ blog posts are views of the authors only, and should not be considered as formal advice and instruction. Readers should consult with appropriate health professionals or dial 811 for Health Link on any matter related to their health and wellbeing.