Gratitude improves physical and mental health in the workplace

thank_you_signGratitude in the workplace has a positive impact on a person’s physical and mental health, according to a recent study.

Researchers at Portland State University looked into whether expressions of gratitude had an impact in physical health outcomes among a sample of acute care nurses.

A total of 146 nurses were involved in the study (citation below). Over a period of 12 weeks they completed weekly surveys describing their positive and negative events, health, and work-related experiences.

The researchers found that there was a positive relationship between gratitude in the workplace and satisfaction with the care the nurses provided within that week. This subsequently predicted better sleep, fewer headaches and healthier eating.

Portland State University business professor David Cadiz said:

“Nurses tend to have a thankless job. It’s very physical, and they’re often being screamed at by patients who are at their lowest. When nurses receive gratitude, it boosts them.

“This type of study helps us understand how to keep nurses in the workforce in a healthy way. Nurses strongly align their profession with their identity and often look out for patients more than themselves. The gratitude matches up with their identity, gives them satisfaction in a job well done and ultimately increases self-care.”

The study highlights the health benefits of gratitude in the workplace and the role it plays in business.

A business environment in which people have the opportunity express gratitude can have a positive effect on the physical health of employees which can have a fiscal impact over time.

“Employees that receive positive feedback are healthier, and that can impact the bottom line,” adds Cadiz. “Preventing headaches and other stress-related symptoms means fewer sick days, and, in this case, cuts down the cost of replacement nurses and overtime pay.”

Citation

Alicia R. Starkey, Cynthia D. Mohr, David M. Cadiz & Robert R. Sinclair (2019) Gratitude reception and physical health: Examining the mediating role of satisfaction with patient care in a sample of acute care nurses, The Journal of Positive Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2019.1579353