Why Expressing Gratitude to Co-workers is a Good Idea

It is well born to be grateful. This is what the popular saying goes, which we use to acknowledge our gratitude to another person for a good or beneficial action. This idea can be extrapolated to all areas of life, including work. Because every day we interact with many co- workers and coexistence is not always easy.

Being grateful can be comforting, but it can also be beneficial to our health. A study from the University of California, San Diego, Rady School of Management found that teammates who thanked each other before performing a high-stress task had a better cardiovascular response compared to teams that didn’t express gratitude.

The researchers emphasize that this is the first study that demonstrates this relationship beyond the family sphere. It is also the first to reveal that gratitude builds biological resources, promoting better responses to stress , which in addition to boosting performance in high-pressure tasks, can have long-term health impacts.

“Our results have significant implications for organizations and, in particular, for employees who work together under highly stressful conditions to achieve joint goals,” explains Christopher Oveis, lead author of the study, which will be published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology .

better response to stress 

The study, in which two hundred people participated, was based on a competition experiment based on a television game show. The participants were UC San Diego students who were paired into teams with their peers. Teams were given six minutes to present a case for creating and marketing a bike for students to ride on campus and were given six minutes to present their product and marketing plan to a panel of judges.

“The experiment was designed to create a maximally stressful environment so we can measure how gratitude shapes the stress response during teamwork because most people spend a third or more of their daily lives at work.” Oveis points out.

To measure physiological responses , the participants wore electrodes on their necks and torso that collected electrocardiography (ECG) and impedance cardiography (ICG) signals. In addition, blood pressure was monitored through a blood pressure cuff placed on the subjects’ arms. A select group of teams were randomly assigned to express gratitude and their biological responses were compared to those of teams that did not thank each other during the contest.

With an expression of gratitude

Oveis and co-authors evaluated study participants’ cardiovascular responses to stress at the individual and collaborative levels. Both team members were monitored during the collaborative part of the experiment when they were designing the bike and creating a marketing plan.

During the collaboration task, the control teams showed threat responses marked by decreased blood flow and increased vascular constriction. However, a simple expression of gratitude before the task eliminated these threat responses.

At the time of product launch, control teams showed modest challenge responses marked by vascular dilation and increased blood flow to the periphery. However, teams that expressed gratitude showed significantly larger and amplified challenge responses that helped their performance.

“Expressions of gratitude within work environments can be key to managing our daily responses to stress, as well as optimizing how we respond during high-pressure performance tasks . In addition, they play a critical role in strengthening our relationships. ” at work,” concludes the team. read also

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