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Want to be happier and more successful? Our data shows us how

Want to be happier and more successful? Our data shows us how

Expressing your thanks to others is a polite thing to do. It’s often the right thing to do. But could it also have a meaningful effect on your life?

Could receiving the message: “You’re doing a great job.” or a simple, “Thanks.” make you happier, and even help you enjoy your work?

We surveyed Americans to learn how expressing and receiving gratitude make them feel and to see how it impacts their personal and professional life.

We’re grateful that 563 individuals took the time to respond. Now let’s explore what they told us:

SurveyMonkey Audience can help you get answers directly from your target market.

Feeling appreciated improves people’s drive and emotions in several ways:

  • You’ll be over the moon! 78% say it makes them happy.
  • Your reflection in the mirror will look all the more attractive. 43% claim that it makes them feel more confident.
  • You’ll be bursting with ambition. 43% find themselves more motivated.
Statistic on people feeling happy.

Gratitude can also benefit the person who expresses it in similar ways. Almost three in every four (73%) who offer appreciation say that doing so makes them happy, while 26% and 25% feel more confident and motivated, respectively.

These personal benefits aren’t isolated to the individual. More than half of those who receive or offer gratitude become closer to their family (56%) and develop closer friendships (54%).

Your experience at work depends on many different variables: your interactions with colleagues, your satisfaction with your day-to-day responsibilities, and your success in your role.  

As it turns out, feeling appreciated and being appreciative can improve each of these areas and more!

We asked how giving and receiving gratitude impacted people’s work, and this is what they said:

  • Time will fly by. Nearly half of people (47%) say that it’s made work more fun.
  • You’ll shoot for the stars. 42% find that it’s lifted their motivation at work.
  • Your colleagues will be your buddies. 40% say it helps them get closer to those they work with.
  • You’ll become a rockstar performer. 35% find that it’s improved their job performance.

For individuals, the professional and personal benefits couldn’t be more clear and desirable. But organizations should also take note, as the benefits of gratitude can determine their long-term success. For example, research proves that having more satisfied employees leads to greater financial success for an organization; and another study claims that the greater the share of employees who have a best friend at work, the more profit the business stands to gain.

With these benefits in mind, what can you do at and outside of work to consistently provide gratitude to others? And how can you ensure that you feel appreciated yourself?

Related: Companies that prioritize customer-centricity are more likely to have happier employees, who plan to stay longer. Read the full report to learn more.

Here are some quick and effective ways to make gratitude a part of your life and workplace:

1. Offer gratitude in the ways people want. About 3 in 4 people want to receive gratitude by direct verbal communication, and roughly 2 in 3 want to receive it through displayed affection. Though the latter may not be work appropriate, choose one of these two approaches when possible instead of less popular options—like giving gifts (38%) or writing notes (41%).

Statistic on receiving gratitude.

2. Express gratitude often. Offering a heartfelt thanks may not be possible every day, but the more times you can deliver it, the better off you’ll make others (and yourself) feel. Most people (80%) want to receive gratitude on at least a weekly basis.

3. Find things to be grateful for. Though receiving constant appreciation from others is ideal, you shouldn’t depend on it. Think through all of the great things you have in your life and find times throughout the week to remind yourself of them. Consider keeping a gratitude journal (a list of things that you’re thankful for) to keep the good things in your life top-of-mind.

Our respondents weren’t shy when telling us what they’re grateful for. Living essentials, like food and water, came up, as did the people they’re closest to, like friends and family.

But the things our respondents appreciate didn’t end there. Some are thankful for the Queen of the United Kingdom, others for Halloween, and a few treasure some good ‘ol fashion watches. One of our respondents wrapped it all up in their response, saying:

“I’m grateful for life itself.”

So make sure to find time to appreciate the things you hold dear, and the things you might take for granted. Your personal and professional lives will be better for it.

Here's what else we've learned: