It’s that time of year when we all consider what we’re thankful for (in addition to stuffing and pumpkin pie). Did you know that gratitude can significantly increase your happiness and your health? That’s right, practicing gratitude can help you get more sleep and boost your immunity. According to Amit Sood, MD, who authored a Handbook for Happiness for Mayo Clinic, practicing gratitude can also decrease the risk of disease.
If counting our blessings each day is great for us personally, it’s bound to be a helpful tactic for healthcare recruiters and organizations, too, right? Quint Studer, a highly regarded expert in operational excellence, believes it is.
Studer, whose books, tools, and techniques are already staples in healthcare, says healthcare organizations need to practice gratitude to replenish their emotional bank account. “Most people enter healthcare with a full emotional bank account,” says Studer. “They start out engaged and inspired, with a deep desire to be helpful and useful, and can’t wait to get started.” The challenge, he says, is that there tend to be natural withdrawals that people can’t always control, and in healthcare, people experience these hardships almost daily. He gives this example: Consider what it’s like for a clinician caring for a seriously ill or injured person. While they do heroic work every day, doctors and staff are human. At times, despite their best efforts, they just can’t save that patient. The loss of a patient is a huge withdrawal from the emotional bank account.
“By creating cultures of replenishment, we can live up to our human responsibility to our patients, our clinicians, our employees, and ourselves.”
The benefits of gratitude in the workplace are almost too many to list. Still, leading researchers have found that expressing gratitude decreases stress, increases optimism, and actually changes an individual’s brain. In a recruiting and healthcare environment, your organization can benefit from increased prosocial behaviors, strengthened relationships, employees’ effectiveness, and even increased job satisfaction, per Positive Psychology.
As we head into Thanksgiving and the holiday season, gratitude is something on all of our minds. But practicing gratitude is much more than just saying “thank you.” It’s all about having an improved attitude of gratitude. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Expressing gratitude helps us even if we don’t explicitly share it with others. We’re happier and more satisfied with life because we completed the exercise. Plus, the positive effects of gratitude writing compound. You may not notice its benefit immediately, but after several weeks and months, you will.
- Write a letter expressing your gratitude to someone. Expressing gratitude can prevent negative and toxic emotions, and writing a letter shifts your attention to focus on positive emotions.
- Volunteer. Giving back and helping others is a big key to gratitude for many people. It can make you more grateful for things you would typically take for granted. Studies have also shown that volunteering and helping others increases our well-being and thus our ability to have more gratitude.
- Be grateful for the smallest of things. Gratitude isn’t limited to the big things in life. It’s often the little things that make us happy, like good weather on an important day, the sound of your dog snoring, or receiving a card in the mail. When you’re thankful for the small things, your attitude will grow exponentially.
- Find one thing you're grateful for about your job each day. It could be something as simple as lunch with a colleague or finally connecting with a candidate you’ve been trying to reach, and it’s bound to make you feel more inspired at work.
- Use gratitude cues or a jar. Practice is the way to make any new habit stick, so try using quotes or reminders on your office wall, or keep a jar handy and drop your thoughts or inspiration into it every day.
We all get discouraged and emotionally depleted by work and events in our lives, but it’s important to remember that people in healthcare need replenishing too – and often. If you build a culture of gratitude by first recognizing gratitude within yourself, then expanding outwardly to reward others, an attitude of gratitude will have a major impact. In that spirit, we’d like to thank all of the fantastic recruiters, hospitals, healthcare organizations, and recruitment firms who’ve partnered with Doximity over the years. We couldn’t be more grateful.
By the way, Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season are NOT reasons to slow down your recruiting! We see high engagement from clinicians especially this time of the year, in part because many of them take time off from work. So get into the spirit with our article: 5 Ways to Boost Your Recruiting Over the Holidays. We also hosted a great holiday recruiting webinar recently. Check out the video now.