Having a hard time putting up with colleagues? Try keeping a gratitude journal
Under certain conditions, for example, when there is backbiting, rudeness, or ostracizing behavior, the atmosphere at work can be quite toxic. And given the current context marked by the health crisis and economic uncertainty, professional relationships are certainly coming under a lot of strain. But what can be done to reduce interpersonal tensions in the workplace? In a recent study, American researchers set out to see if positive thinking could help. For the purposes of the project, they asked workers to keep a gratitude journal.
After months of remote working, readjusting to office life is not always easy, particularly if the atmosphere is marked by disputes between colleagues and the nefarious influence of gossip. American researchers from the University of Central Florida set out to see if positive thinking could help with both of these. The technique they tested involved encouraging workers to keep a gratitude journal.
Originally developed as an aid to personal development, keeping a gratitude journal involves taking a moment at the same time every day, often in the evening just before going to bed, to note some small things that brought us pleasure during the day. For example, these might include a compliment or a nice gesture from a friend (or even from a stranger), good news, an event that was enjoyable. The scale of emotion is not important, anything can be noted as long as it is positive.
According to the authors of the study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the simple action of keeping a private journal of positive thoughts “can change your outlook, your approach to work, and the way your co-workers see you.”
The researchers conducted two distinct experiments involving a total of 351 employees, who over a period of ten days took time to note all of the things for which they were grateful. On completion of these exercises, participants were considerably less likely to report incidents of rudeness or ostracizing and gossipy behaviors in the workplace.
“Gratitude exercises are becoming increasingly popular products to improve employee attitudes and well-being, and our study shows managers can also use them to foster more respectful behavior in their teams,” point out the researchers. NVG
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