It’s simple, really. Everyone has a real need to feel appreciated. It makes us feel valued and connected. When we feel genuinely valued and appreciated, we will respond better and perform better.
Positive Psychology Research Findings
Positive psychology studies have consistently found that grateful and appreciative people are happier and healthier than those who are less inclined to express gratitude and show appreciation. It’s not hard to believe that grumpy, ungrateful people aren’t that happy.
In case you are wondering the difference between gratitude and appreciation, here are the quick definitions:
Gratitude is the skill of noticing and appreciating the positive in the world, rather than focus on the negative.
Appreciation is the act of noticing and recognizing the people around you in a positive way.
So, here are my top 5 tips to improve your appreciation and gratitude skills:
1) Be mindful of what is going on around you and be “present” in the moment.
Be open and receptive to giving and receiving appreciation and recognition. Pay attention and catch people doing good things. Then appreciate them for it. For example, say: “Betty, I appreciate that you did that” (and specify what “that” is).
2) Focus on individual accomplishment.
It’s much more powerful than acknowledging a group. At staff meetings, when someone has done a good job, acknowledge them in front of their peers. At home, announce how pleased you are with your child in front of their friends, or your husband in front of the kids.
3) Be as specific as possible.
Don’t just say you appreciate someone, give a specific example: “I appreciate you tracking me down for a phone call when I wandered away.” or “You did a good job of putting your clothes away today.”
4) When you see it, say it.
Give the recognition as soon as possible after you see something to appreciate. Timeliness is important, so don’t wait!
And, my most important tip of all:
5) Be sincere.
Don’t even try to fake it. People will quickly catch on to you and the impact will be null (it could even make the situation worse).
Gratitude and appreciation are communication skills that bring amazing results in building and improving relationships. If you aren’t doing it regularly already, start adding gratitude appreciation to your daily routine.
Adapted from: Dancing with Strangers, available at: www.cornerstone-ct.com/store
Betty Lochner is the Owner and President of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.