The Covid-19 has forced millions of people around the world to abruptly transition into remote working, with little preparation to cope with this new reality. Experts predict that remote working will be the “new normal” for months to come. In addition to business-related concerns such as maintaining productivity and effective communications, research has suggested that working from home can lead to faster employee burnout due to the blurred boundaries between working hours and personal time, lack of interpersonal interactions between team members, and lack of support from employers.
If you are new to remote working, you may be struggling and trying to find new ways to cope with the difficulties and distractions of working from home. Maintaining a work-life balance while working from home is not just about maximising your productivity at work, but also attending to your mental health and cultivating an “attitude of gratitude”. Below are some of Working Den’s tips to help you nurture this positive mindset to create a healthier and more productive you.
What is an attitude of gratitude?
An attitude of gratitude can be cultivated by regularly and habitually recognising things or people that you appreciate in your life. We may already be saying thanks regularly out of politeness when you receive help from others, but this attitude of gratitude method goes one step further by asking you to make it a daily habit.
For this method to make an impact in your life, it is especially important that you incorporate the habit of expressing gratitude into your daily routine, whether or not something meaningful or positive happens to you that day. This means that you have to find things, big or small, to be thankful for, every day.
Why is the attitude of gratitude important?
It may be counter-intuitive, since working is about moving forward, setting goals and achieving them. Many people assign happiness with achievements – “I will be happy when I finish this project/get this promotion/acquire this client. However, when you keep your eyes on the prize, you may lose sight of things, people, and achievements that you already have. When that happens, work can turn into countless hours of relentlessly climbing the corporate ladder. Even when you achieve your next milestone, you may already assign your happiness to the next milestone, or the one after that. The quest of chasing happiness is never finished, and you wonder: “When, then, can I finally be happy?”
Creating an attitude of gratitude is a crucial step in fostering happiness in everyday moments. It is about recognising what you already have: people, things, and achievements, whether they are big or small. When you incorporate this healthy habit into your daily routine, it can help you feel calm and content in your current job and relationships, and in turn, fuel you in your quest to achieve “the next big thing”.
Practising an attitude of gratitude can create a meaningful impact on your mental and physical health. It may seem improbable, but scientific studies of people who keep a gratitude journal have shown that it helps them overcome chronic illnesses and addiction, reduce anxiety and depression, sleep better, strengthen their relationships and improve their productivity, and even improve their immune system and reduce their risks of heart diseases!
This practice is especially useful in maintaining healthy professional and personal relationships. Continuously recognising and appreciating your friends, partners, and coworkers, not just when you receive help from them, can add a positive tone to your relationships and help you connect with them better. People who practice gratitude are also more generous and compassionate, which are great qualities to help you assert a positive influence at work and foster teamwork.
How to adopt an attitude of gratitude
People often only express thanks when they receive help from others or achieve a personal or professional milestone. Of course, this practice is encouraged, but to foster an attitude of gratitude, the key is to maintain the healthy habit of expressing gratitude every day, even (and especially) when you have a bad day and feel that there is nothing for which you are grateful.
This practice is simple: every day, find two or three things that you are grateful for and express your attitude towards them. You can write them down in an attitude journal, in a note app on your phone, or tell them to someone close to you. When you recognise gratitude towards people in your life, you should also thank them as well – whether through a text, a phone call, or a note. There’s no negative side effect in spreading positivity, and surely you will make their day!
Another struggle when it comes to practising an attitude of gratitude is maintaining a consistent habit – you may be enthusiastic for the first few days but forget about it when your schedule is too busy. When you first incorporate the practice of gratitude into your daily routine, it is essential to attach this habit to something that you are already doing. For example:
- Think about three things you are grateful for when you brush your teeth or eat breakfast in the morning.
- Tell your significant other about three things you are grateful for before you go to sleep.
- Keep a gratitude journal or a note in your phone and designate a time of day to write your gratitude list.
- At the end of the week, month, quarter or year, reflect on your time and what you have achieved during that period and acknowledge your gratitude towards the things and people who helped you get there.
Everyone is different, and each person may find a method that works better for them, so if one method does not work, do not be discouraged! As long as you express gratitude daily, it should not matter how you do it. At the end of this journey, you will find that you have become calmer, happier, and more compassionate towards everyone and everything around you.
If you need additional help coping with remote work, Working Den is an amazing toolkit to help you with every facet of remote working, including how to reduce burnout, increase productivity, and improve your physical and mental health.