Cultivating gratitude: The impact on mental wellness at work

Cultivating gratitude: The impact on mental wellness at work

A report by the World Health Organization mentions that 15% of working-age adults live with a mental health disorder. Without proper and timely interventions, mental health conditions can affect a person’s productivity, confidence, and identity at work, which can result in huge losses for the organization. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for organizations to pay attention to the mental health of their employees and build a positive work environment.

While each organization takes different initiatives throughout the year to foster mental health care in the workplace, cultivating gratitude has a profound impact on mental wellness. 

In this article, we will see the impact of cultivating gratitude at the workplace and how you can cultivate the culture of practising gratitude at your workplace.

Why does gratitude impact so deeply?

Gratitude is the act of acknowledging all the goodness in life, especially things that are often due to forces outside of ourselves. For example, practicing gratitude teaches you to acknowledge your success at work not just because of your hard work but also because of the efforts of other people like your colleagues. 

The idea may sound contradictory because workplaces are often seen as places of transaction, and bringing the act of forgiveness or gratitude might not seem right. However, research studies have suggested that practicing gratitude at work makes employees actually feel better, and they look forward to coming to the workplace.

How to practice gratitude at work palace?

Here are a few ways to incorporate the culture of expressing gratitude at the workplace. 

Create a culture of appreciation

Make it a point to appreciate your colleagues and team members at work. Take five minutes at the beginning of team meetings to thank them for their efforts and good work. 

Create a no-meeting day

While meetings are necessary to collaborate in the workplace, too many meetings can overwhelm your employees. Take one day out of a week as a no-meeting day. This will show that you respect your employees' time and allow them to do focused work. Also, inculcate the habit of taking mini breaks between work to step away from work, even for a few minutes. 

Celebrate milestones

When your team is working towards larger goals or complex projects, practice a culture of celebrating small milestones. This will give employees a sense of accomplishment and a feel-good factor that will keep them motivated.

Indulge in random acts of kindness

Remember, you don't need a huge budget to appreciate your employees or practice gratitude at work. Sometimes, random acts of kindness can do the job without spending too much funds on it. Here are some ideas that you can bring to the workplace:

  • Treat a co-workers to lunch
  • Bring in coffee for your team member 
  • Offer help to a co-worker for difficult projects
  • Sometimes just lend an ear if a co-workers wants to have a chat

Highlight team members to leaders

When your team succeeds, you can put them in the spotlight as a manager, especially in front of the leaders. This will make them feel proud of their work and value. For example, if they have achieved some good results, talk about it to upper management and give the due credit to your team members.

Tips for practicing gratitude at the workplace

If you’re just starting to practice gratitude, it may feel uncomfortable. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Talk about how an employee’s effort helped you achieve better results. Start by saying, “We achieved 10% more because ….”

Highlight a team member's work commitment. Start by saying, “ … took the initiative to resolve the issue.”

Applaud the employee's dedication to work by saying, “... has been a reliable team member in the customer service team for past five years.”

Here’s an example from an organization known for expressing gratitude to its employees.

Southwest Airlines has built gratitude and appreciation for its employees as part of its workplace culture. 

One way the company appreciates its employees is by emphasizing special events in their personal lives. 

The company recognizes these milestones with flowers and cards, whether it's an employee’s children’s graduation or marriage. 

Southwest has understood that gratitude at the workplace is perceived as extended organizational support, where employees feel that the company cares about their overall wellbeing. 

So tell us, how are you practicing gratitude at your workplace?


  1. How does gratitude specifically impact workplace productivity and overall mental wellness among employees?

Gratitude enhances workplace productivity by fostering a positive work environment, boosting morale, and increasing employee engagement through acknowledgment and appreciation.

  1. Are there any potential challenges or drawbacks associated with implementing a gratitude-focused culture in the workplace?

Potential challenges in implementing a gratitude-focused culture may include resistance to change, scepticism about its impact, and difficulty in sustaining momentum over time.

  1. Are there specific industries or types of organizations where cultivating gratitude might be more challenging or less effective?

Cultivating gratitude may face challenges in industries with high turnover rates or intense competition, where prioritizing gratitude may be perceived as secondary to achieving performance targets.