Thankfulness: Safety Topics - November 2018 - Week 3


Monday - Let's Be Thankful

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, let’s take time this week to learn about and practice gratitude. Gratitude is shown as an appreciation towards another. Gratitude helps people recognize the goodness in their lives and connect with things beyond their individual self.

Robert Emmons, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at UC Davis who researches the psychology of personality, emotion, and religion. Throughout his career, Emmons has spent considerable time studying gratitude and is widely considered a scientific expert on the subject. This week we are going to look into different facets of gratitude and how it impacts our work and personal lives.

Tuesday - Gratitude at Work

Emmons claims that practicing gratitude in our daily lives provides us with three surprising benefits at work. Emmons’ research found that when practiced regularly, gratitude facilitates better sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 30% of Americans sleep 6 hours or less per night. A 2016 Rand Corporation study “reported that sleep deprivation cost U.S. companies more than $400 billion a year in lost productivity, more than 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Similar losses were found around the world, with Japan, Germany, and the U.K. also losing 1.5-3 percent of their GDP to too little sleep. The Rand study estimated that if people who sleep under six hours a night started sleeping between six and seven, this could add over $200 billion to the U.S. economy” ( Practicing gratitude in our daily lives will reduce negative, critical thoughts and will increase pleasant thoughts that promote sleepiness and allow for a more restful night’s sleep (Emmons). 

Emmons cites the second thing that gratitude can do to benefit your work, and personal life, is reduce excessive entitlement. Entitlement refers to a person’s belief that he or she deserves more than those around them, they are dissatisfied with what they receive and always feel that they deserve more (Emmons). “On the job, people with excessive entitlement tend to engage in more counterproductive work behaviors, actions designed to harm an organization or its members. These include theft, aggression, violence, sabotage, withdrawal, deliberate poor performance, and threatening, abusing, and blaming others. Entitlement can show up in toxic workplace cultures alongside gossip, complaining, and negativity. How is gratitude relevant here? A person who feels entitled to everything will be grateful for nothing; gratitude is the antidote to entitlement, and to other aspects of toxic workplace culture. Grateful individuals live in a way that leads to the kind of workplace environment that human beings long for. Gratitude produces higher levels of positive emotions that are beneficial in the workplace, such as joy, enthusiasm, and optimism, and lower levels of the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness” (

Finally, gratitude leads us to contribute more to our workplaces. Grateful people are akin to good citizens; they are kind and helpful and compassionate (Emmons). “Beyond the social sphere of work, gratitude also drives enhanced performance in the cognitive domain: grateful people are more likely to be creative at work, gratitude promotes innovative thinking, flexibility, openness, curiosity, and love of learning. Grateful people have an interest in learning new information and skills, and they seek opportunities to learn and develop” (Emmons).

Wednesday - Five Myths about Gratitude from Robert Emmons

  1. Gratitude leads to complacency.
  2. Gratitude is a naïve form of positive thinking.
  3. Gratitude makes us too modest.
  4. Gratitude isn’t possible or appropriate in the midst of adversity or suffering.
  5. You have to be religious to be grateful.

Thursday - What Are The Benefits of Gratitude?

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, we should spend some time thinking about what we are grateful for. Here are some added incentives to inspire you to lengthen your list of what you are grateful for; all of these benefits are outcomes of gratitude!

  • Physical
    • Strnger immune systems
    • Less aches and pains
    • Lwer blood pressure
    • Better quality f sleep
  • Psychological
    • Higher levels f positive emotions
    • Mre alert, alive, and awake
    • Mre joy and pleasure
    • Mre optimism and happiness
  • Social
    • Mre helpful, generous, and compassionate
    • Mre forgiving
    • Mre outgoing
    • Less feelings f loneliness 

Friday - Fortunate Friday

What are you grateful for today? Spend time discussing with coworkers. 

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