This is the time of year when many Canadians are reflecting on things that they are thankful for.
Most of us would put things such as family, friends and health at the top of our lists. But what are you thankful for in the context of your workplace?
Even if your job is not ideal, you can still find things to be thankful for at work.
In fact, numerous studies have shown that simple acts of gratitude can reduce stress and even improve your psychological and physical health*.
We can practice gratitude by connecting head and heart and focusing on the positive. Among the beneficial effects of this are a surge of dopamine and positive effects on blood pressure, blood sugar and EEG rhythms.
So what are you grateful for at work? Here’s a list to get you started!
1. The problems you were hired to solve.
Most people don’t think of problems as things to be thankful for – but you were hired to solve problems! As an engineer, you may be solving very technical problems or as a cashier you may be solving the problem of how customers can make a purchase.
Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed at our jobs because of the workload – especially if there are other stressors affecting us outside of our jobs.
It helps to put things in perspective, listen to our heart, and remember that the reason why any company hires someone is to help meet those challenges and solve problems.
Without problems, there are no jobs. A good reason to be grateful.
2. Your co-workers!
Do you have co-workers who have your back at work? Do you have co-workers who you rely on to get projects done? Is there someone at work who will listen to you rant when you just need to vent. Then that’s something to be thankful for!
Most of us have jobs where we work as part of a team. Even if the task you do is mainly solo, chances are somewhere along the line, there is another person in the company who helps move things along. Since most of us spend more of our waking hours with co-workers than we do with family, it is important to cultivate good relationships with our colleagues.
Having good relationships at work can help improve morale, reduce stress and even lead to increased productivity for the company.
Human beings are social creatures and we need other human beings to thrive.
3. Your unique skills
You bring something special to your workplace. Over the years, you have developed a set of skills that is unique to you. These skills are not merely your “hard skills” such as computer programming, driving a forklift or baking the perfect soufflé etc. – but they also include “soft skills” that you were not necessarily hired for but have become an asset to your company.
For example, do you have a knack for seeing a problem from a different angle and coming up with creative solutions? Are you the peacekeeper when there is a dispute between co-workers? Are you the one who knows how to make everyone laugh? Without your unique skills, your workplace wouldn’t be the same!
Spend some time thinking about your unique skills and how you can use them to make the company that you work for a better place.
Even if you don’t fully realize what your unique skills are yet – you do have them. And you can be thankful for them.
4. Your competition!
Competition has always existed in the workplace. You may be part of a team that is always trying to stay one step ahead of another business in the same industry. Or there may even be competition from co-workers within your own company.
Sometimes having competition can feel stressful.
But it can also challenge you to try new things and keep improving yourself.
And who knows, someday that co-worker that you’re competing with might just become a great ally and friend.
No matter how many different jobs you have on your career path, there is always going to be one constant – and that is you.
You have the ability to determine your own vision and set your course.
You can take control of your career and take the steps necessary to achieve your goals. You might want to engage the help of a mentor or career coach, but ultimately the decision and the power is yours.
Learn to recognize this within yourself and be thankful.