Updated: Oct 4, 2022
In part one of this blog series we learned that the key to transmuting procrastination into productivity is having a Gratitude Mindset.
Like Steve Maraboli alludes to, gratitude fuels perseverance, because it teaches us to zoom out and see that this obstacle is just one round in the match. “Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.” ~ Steve Maraboli.
While I do agree that gratitude makes us more productive because we begin to see the bigger picture - it’s certainly not the only reason.
So how else does embodying a gratitude mindset shift us from procrastination to productivity? And what are some ways to develop a gratitude mindset?
Before we get into some practical applications for integrating gratitude into our daily lives, let’s dig into the other reasons a gratitude mindset boosts productivity.
1. A gratitude mindset improves physical well being.
Physical well being is the sum of how our body’s systems (such as our nervous, immune, and endocrine systems) are co-functioning. When our body’s systems are not optimized, we experience symptoms such as stress, insomnia, fatigue, headaches or frequent colds, effectively hindering our ability to be productive. Fortunately, gratitude is a simple tool that has been proven to help support a balanced physical body thereby improving our productivity.
In research done by Shawn Anchor and Training Magazine (Feb 2014), 400 professionals committed to practicing gratitude three times a day. After two weeks their energy levels increased by 12% and their stress levels decreased by 20%. Practicing gratitude is correlated with improved vitality and energy, both of which make us more productive beings.
According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, the effect of a gratitude mindset is mind blowing. "Changing your fear to gratitude, appreciation, and kindness for just 10 minutes, three times a day, can strengthen your immune system by 50%."
Sleep is arguably the most important factor in our overall health, and gratitude just so happens to be a fantastic sleep aid. An evening gratitude practice induces the relaxation response, allowing you to ease into sleep. Gratitude has been shown to help combat insomnia as wells as improve sleep quality and duration. A good night's sleep provides us the energy required to get things done.
What’s another cool side effect of a gratitude mindset? Grateful people on average spend more time exercising. More exercise = overall improved physical well being = increased performance and productivity.
2. A gratitude mindset improves emotional well being.
A gratitude mindset raises your vibration. It smothers low-vibrating feelings like envy, self-centeredness, and the materialistic tendencies motivated by insecurity. When gratitude is your go-to, you’ll discover that genuine optimism, authentic eagerness, and higher self-confidence become your default feeling states.
With a gratitude mindset, you can bounce back faster from setbacks and bouts of anxiety, sadness, or depression. In essence, gratitude directs your attention away from the negative and towards the positive. The more time you spend in the happy zone, the more likely you’re going to devote energy and attention on getting things done.
Research has revealed that spending just five minutes a day writing down what you’re grateful for can increase your sense of well being by ten percent; doing so for 21 days straight boosts optimism and confidence for up to 6 months thereafter. Now if that’s not a great ROI, I don’t know what is.
3. A gratitude mindset improves interconnectedness.
One study looked at how an Annual Giving Director’s gratitude toward fundraisers influenced further behaviors in raising money. They found that gratitude produced more than a 50 percent increase in the number of calls made by the average fundraiser in a single week.
When we feel appreciated, we are more productive. The valued sense of connection and belonging motivates humans to expand their social networks, work more efficiently, contribute more enthusiastically, be more altruistic, and have more pride in their work. The result? Quality and quantity of output reaches new heights.
4. A gratitude mindset supports goal attainment.
People who keep gratitude logs are more likely to make progress on their goals.
“In a long-term research project on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its potential consequences for human health and well-being, Professors Robert A. Emmons, University of California, and Michael E. McCullough, University of Miami have made some amazing discoveries. ‘Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.’ says Professor Emmons.” (source: “Increasing Productivity with Gratitude” - Inc.com)
5. A gratitude mindset improves focus.
Practicing gratitude also has the interesting benefit of increasing your decision making abilities. You can have a positive attitude toward your choices by accepting what matters in the present without rejecting what may work at another time; you’re more easily aligned with what is necessary and what is good, right here and now.
Gratitude gives you permission to be all in. Happy to be able to participate, you won't hold back. Higher quality results happen because you trust in the best possible outcome.
6. A gratitude mindset increases motivation.
Practicing gratitude changes the brain by boosting serotonin and dopamine levels, two of our feel-good hormones. Dopamine plays a critical role in our motivation and reward system, making us feel energized and content so that we can be more productive.
So, now that we are familiar with why a Gratitude Mindset helps us boost productivity, let’s take a look at the tangible ways in which we can harness this knowledge to curb our procrastination addiction and get shit done.
Below are a handful of gratitude practices for you to try out.
The “Three Blessings or What Went Well?” Exercise.
Dr. Marty Seligman, an author and former President of the American Psychological Association, is known as the father of the Positive Psychology movement. His “Three Blessings” exercise, performed at the end of your day, helps you focus your attention on three things that went well and why they went well. This exercise is about directing attention to the positive, and is a great ritual to add to the dinner table conversation, or to share at bedtime.
Daily Gratitude Journal.
Make lists, draw pictures, write poems or an essay. Record your gratitude any way your heart desires. For maximum benefits, make this a ritual by adding it to your morning or evening routine.
Future Gratitude Meditation.
Meditate on your ideal future circumstance with gratitude as if it already exists. Check out Joe Dispenza’s guidance on practicing future gratitude.
Grateful Conscious Breathing.
Inhale for gratitude. Exhale that which no longer serves you. For example, on the inbreath I think to myself, “Thank you for the clean spring water that hydrates my being.” On the outbreath I think to myself, “I release judgement towards self." Inhale, “thank you." Exhale, “release."
Gratitude is more powerful when it is shared, so find a way to verbalize it or share it with your community. Perhaps start a gratitude club on social media, or get yourself a gratitude accountability buddy. My daughter and I have a ritual of naming three things we’re each grateful for on our walk to school; she’s my favorite accountability buddy, and I am so very grateful for her.
Start your journey with just one of these practices.
Practice it until it becomes a habit and only then, add more gratitude practices to your repertoire.
Before you know it you’ll be a productivity ninja with the ultimate secret weapon: A Gratitude Mindset.
And on that note, I want to express my sincerest gratitude to my readers. Thank you for reading my words, and for sharing what I have to say with those that you care about. There are millions of articles on the web that you could be reading right now (and probably a handful of tasks on your Resistance List that you’re avoiding doing right now), so I feel very fortunate to have your attention. Your support means the world to me.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.