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Practice Management

Practicing gratitude every day: How it can improve your business

Like your clients, you probably often find yourself trying to hit the right balance between work, home and managing all the other aspects of life, including meeting the financial needs of your family. It's easy to get swept up in the daily grind and blinded by the obstacles in your path.

Running a business practice can be stressful, particularly in uncertain economic times. That stress can affect the way you work. When faced with stress, do you ever stop and think about all the things you have to be thankful for? How could this small change in mindset improve the way you do business and manage your client relationships?

There's no better time than right now to take a step back and explore implementing a practice of thankfulness and gratitude. Scientists are studying the impacts of practicing gratitude and the results are encouraging. Research has shown that those who use gratitude journals or write down things they are thankful for tend to feel happier, be more optimistic, exercise more and visit the doctor less often for health problems.

Here's how you can put thankfulness into practice and reap the rewards for your business.

How can I start practicing thankfulness?

You've probably been told since you were a kid about the power of positive thinking. Well, thankfulness and gratitude can play a role in that, especially when it comes to improving your mental health.

Here are some ways to start incorporating thankfulness and gratitude into your life:

  • Keep a journal — Many people swear by their gratitude journals. You don't have to write a lot. Start with a short list of things you are thankful or grateful for in your life, including at work.
  • Embrace your strengths — When confronted with a challenge or task, lean on your strengths. Acknowledge what you do well and how you can use your strengths to solve problems.
  • Create a schedule — If you're struggling to find the time to practice gratitude, put it on your schedule. You don't need more than just a few minutes a day to find a quiet moment to think about all the good things in your life and business.
  • Say thank you — It may seem simple, but the power of a thank you can mean a lot to someone. Use it frequently with your teammates by thanking them for the work they do and with clients for trusting you with their business. And don't forget to thank yourself. Don't be afraid to take a minute to acknowledge the work you do for yourself and your clients.

What are some of the business benefits of practicing gratitude?

Incorporating gratitude and thankfulness into your daily life can reap all sorts of rewards for your business, making you a better financial professional who can connect and build trust with clients.

Here are some of the benefits you can see when you start creating space to add gratitude to your day:

  • Better sleep — Research has found that those who think about what they are grateful for right before bedtime fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed. This can set a positive tone for a productive day of working with clients and tackling business goals.
  • Increased productivity — Setting aside time for gratitude can bring structure to your schedule, which can help you be more productive. Additionally, one study found that those who set aside time to practice gratitude make better progress toward goals, and one sales professional says when his gratitude increased, so did his sales.
  • Improved mental health — Studies show that gratitude can help you move past negative emotions more quickly and can even have long-lasting, positive impacts on the brain.
  • More self-esteem — Gratitude has also been shown to improve the self-esteem of the people who practice it more often. On top of that, rather than feeling jealous or insecure about other's accomplishments, people who practice thankfulness are more likely to celebrate them.
  • Better empathy — "If you count your blessings, you're more likely to empathize with other people," said University of Kentucky psychology professor Nathan DeWall when discussing his research on gratitude and aggression. Emotional intelligence, including empathy, is something that matters now more than ever. Being able to recognize when others are struggling or need support, even in the form of a simple "thank you" or "great job," can boost your working relationships and help you better serve your clients.

Sometimes, small actions can make a big difference for your business. Implementing a regular gratitude practice can improve your mental and physical health. In turn, that can help you be a better financial professional to your clients.

Interested in more ways to improve the way you work with clients? Try out these five tips for becoming a better listener.


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