I love science.
It's one thing to say that "something" creates results, but when scientific studies verify its existence, I get downright giddy! The latest neuroscientific research on the influence of gratitude on business growth has me "grateful" for geeks.
Gratitude: A Tradition
From a young age, my parents taught me to be grateful. After all, there were "starving children in Biafra," mom narrated, "who would be more than happy to eat" whatever was being served.
As a young whipper snapper, I had "plenty". I had enough to eat, a good education, and clothes to wear, even though most were hand-me-downs. There was an empty lot for softball, the perfect hill for winter sledding, and lots of neighborhood friends like Delbert, Bobby, and Dougie.
What I didn't realize--until much later--was the stress my parents endured to feed, clothe, and educate five kids on a meager salary. I didn't know we were poor. Why? Gratitude was a way of life.
Many people didn't grow up in an atmosphere of gratitude. They missed the opportunity to learn the importance of gratitude. And, although I grew up without the benefit of scientific research, I knew gratitude created a lasting impact.
The Merry-Go-Round Called Gratitude
Scientific studies on gratitude, and its intriguing influence, are growing rapidly. In fact, did you know that five-minutes a day writing in a gratitude journal can increase your well-being by more than 10 percent. This is equivalent to doubling your income. Yowsa!
According to the article, The Grateful Brain, "gratitude can have such a powerful impact on your life because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle. Your brain only has so much power to focus its attention. It cannot easily focus on both positive and negative stimuli. It is like a small child: easily distracted."
It's a virtual merry-go-round!
Gratitude actually reshapes neural pathways, creating greater optimism, better sleep and--wait for it--improvement in exercise by as much as 1.5 hours per week.
Business Growth: The Insiders Game
One of the most underutilized strategies for most small businesses is tapping into the unconventional method of business growth: growing from the inside out. It's tough knowing where to start with an insider's strategy that's soft and squishy. So we turn to the tried (or is that "tired"?) strategies commonly utilized by most businesses.
Undoubtedly, traditional business growth strategies play an important role in business planning. However, can we make room for something more esoteric--like gratitude as a business growth strategy?
Drs. Blaire and Rita Justice reported for the University of Texas Health Science Center, "a growing body of research shows that gratitude is truly amazing in its physical and psychosocial benefits."
What can gratitude do for you and your business growth? Here's what science has to say...
- Gratitude increases self-esteem.
- Gratitude improves sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzz
- Gratitude spices up our energy.
- Gratitude adds elasticity to our bounce back ability.
- Gratitude fosters relaxation. Ahhhhhhhh!
- Gratitude improves social behaviors which makes it easier to network. Studies show that those who are 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social capital.
- Gratitude stimulates goal achievement. In one study, participants instructed to keep a gratitude journal for two months reported more progress toward their goals.
- Gratitude enhances decision making.
- Gratitude magnifies productivity.
- Gratitude makes us nicer, more trusting, and more appreciative.
In the words of speaker and author, Ocean Robbins, "If you've forgotten the language of gratitude, you'll never be on speaking terms with happiness."
Care to join me? Let's start our gratitude journal today and see what it does for our business growth in the new year. You in?
This article first appeared on Synnovatia's small business growth blog.