Improving Your Well-Being Through Appreciation

It’s not often that we derive health benefits from our daily work until you consider this: showing your appreciation for staff and colleagues can affect your brain chemistry and work performance in several favorable ways.

According to Dr. Lou E. Whitaker, a neuro-education consultant, “Every thought releases some type of chemical. When positive thoughts are generated, when you’re feeling happy, or optimistic, cortisol decreases and the brain produces serotonin, creating a feeling of well-being.”

Using positive words to acknowledge and describe your team members and their work improves your mood and daily outlook. This in turn can lead to a marked change in your mindset as you actively begin searching and identifying your colleagues’ good qualities.

And here’s where things get really interesting. Validating and acknowledging those around you can make you better at your job. David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom of Forbes cite a study which, “shows that when employees (at any level) give recognition, their engagement score (in the workplace) increases by 26%. That’s a sizable increase considering how easy and enjoyable it is to recognize someone at the office.” This same study by the O.C. Tanner Institute finds that your effectiveness increases by 22% and your innovation soars by 33%.

Let’s step back and think about all of that for just a moment. Engagement, effectiveness and innovation are your “A” game’s dream team. Bringing those qualities to your agency or department can have a marked impact on the work you’re doing in your community.

And it only gets better. Sturt and Nordstrom explain that you also build trust in relationships when you acknowledge others. “According to Paul J. Zak, professor at Claremont Graduate University, ‘The neuroscience shows that recognition has the largest effect on trust when it occurs immediately after a goal has been met, when it comes from peers, and when it’s tangible, unexpected, personal, and public.’” With so much to gain from appreciating others, it just makes sense to mindfully add this practice to your work … and your life.

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