ATD Blog

How to Find Gratitude in a Negative World

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Positive psychology research shows that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships

“The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” said Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at University of California–Davis and a leading scientific expert on the science of gratitude. A growing body of research is confirming that an ounce of gratitude is worth a pound of cure. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders, and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide,” he said.

But it can be hard to feel grateful while sitting in jammed traffic or standing in a long line at the grocery store when we’re already late for an appointment. Try this simple yet highly impactful practice when you’re in the midst of the daily grind:

Make a list of the three things you're most grateful for right now (and every day for the next 21 days). Put it up on your fridge, office wall, or anywhere you'll see it regularly. Any time you're feeling frustrated or find yourself slipping into a negative headspace, revisit your list.


Sometimes all you need is a little reminder of the good things in your life to get you back on track.

Want to learn more? Join me November 5-6, 2019, in New Orleans for ATD OrgDev. We'll cover innovative methods to onboard new employees and leaders, create an effective high-potentials program, leverage coaching as a developmental tool, and manage the ever-increasing rate of change in today’s workplace.

About the Author

Devin C. Hughes is an author, speaker, consultant, executive coach, and an internationally recognized expert in the science of happiness, organizational/culture change and leadership development. He has lectured and worked with a variety of Fortune 100 companies, as well as the Secret Service, the IRS, and an assortment of profit and nonprofit organizations. Devin is the author of 20 books and has lectured in more than 15 countries. He lives in San Diego, California, with his wife, four daughters, and two rescue dogs.

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I've always said "Never underestimate the power of a sincere 'Thank you'".
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