How to Understand Business Gratitude: Here’s What Studies Say!

Business gratitude studies

A lot has been written and said about how the simple practice of gratitude can significantly improve people’s lives.  All of this focus on gratitude begs the question, “Does gratitude really work?” According to business gratitude studies, the answer is a resounding yes. And gratitude is not just important in your daily life. There is actually such a thing as “business gratitude,” which harnesses this practice of gratitude for business purposes.  

Scientific Gratitude and Business Gratitude Studies

Business gratitude studies have revealed that the gains from practicing gratitude are not just something self-help authors have made up to make people feel good. The power of gratitude is actually backed by science.

The science of gratitude owes much to Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at UC Davis in the state of California, and Dr. Michael McCullough, a psychology professor from the University of Miami. They worked together to come up with a pioneering longitudinal study on gratitude’s effects on the human brain. In their study, they asked adult participants to write weekly in their journals. One group of subjects had to write about things that they found annoying. Meanwhile, another group recorded things they did well or were thankful about. The third group of participants was assigned to write about events that were basically neutral.

The researchers found that the participants who recorded things they were grateful for experienced fewer instances of illness than the other groups. They also were more optimistic and tended to exercise more.  In young adults, the results were similar—the gratitude group was more alert and enthusiastic than those in the other groups.

Additional gratitude studies

Another 2009 study, revealed that grateful participants had a more vigorous blood flow to the hypothalamus compared to those who didn’t. This is important because the hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates many important functions, including sleep, stress levels, and metabolism. The researchers also found that the practice of gratitude also resulted in the activation of the mesolimbic pathway, which is a part of the “reward system” in the brain.

These studies clearly show that the regular practice of gratitude has tangible effects on a person’s well-being. Without a doubt, there is a definite connection between gratitude and health.

Meanwhile, in their book, The Power of Thanks, authors Erik Mosley and Derek Irvine also laid out the positive effects of gratitude that have been proven by science. These include enhanced energy and achievement, resilience in the face of traumatic events, and better relationships with others.  In the context of business, gratitude increases commitment to the company and helping behavior among personnel. It also improved engagement among employees and lessened the tendency of burnout. Further, scientists have found that a positive correlation exists between the practice of gratitude and social responsibility in corporations.

Given all these benefits, there is no doubt that gratitude is something that you should be using as well for both for your business, and your life.

How You Can Apply Business Gratitude in Your Life

If you would like to apply gratitude for business and your life, here are some tips on how to get started with business gratitude so you can reap the benefits of gratitude practice.

Thank your team

Yes, everyone earns money from doing their job. But if you are a manager, and you sincerely thank your team for the great work they do, it boosts their confidence and makes them more likely to cooperate with each other. Thanking your peers also has similar positive benefits. So it is a win-win situation and everyone benefits.

Make your own journal

Just like the participants in Emmons’ and McCullough’s research, you can harness the positive effects of gratitude by simply jotting down the things you are thankful for at the end of each day. Depending on your preference, you can choose to use traditional journals or digital notebooks.  

Express it in kind

Investigators have found that it is possible to immediately raise one’s happiness by 10%, and reduce depressive symptoms by 35%—simply by doing one thoughtful act of gratitude. You can make the most of this by regularly incorporating heartfelt acts of appreciation in your day-to-day life.

Practice positive feedback 

Workplace feedback tends to be negative, which pulls down employee morale. To turn this around, try practicing gratitude and making it a point to give appreciative feedback, instead of negative ones. Then watch the positive changes that this gesture will set in motion.


All business gratitude studies emphasize the need to learn this practice as soon as possible. Gratitude helps to build trust among co-workers and inspires people to excel in their jobs.  As per business gratitude studies, you can resolve common corporate problems. It can even help to solve major ones, such as that of the lack of workplace engagement.

Make gratitude a part of your business culture, and everyone—you, your staff, your company, and your clients— will reap the benefits that come from it.  

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