The Science of Gratitude

What is Gratitude?

We all know that person who is constantly in a good mood and always winning the game of life. But how do they do it? The answer is simple. They show gratitude, an expression of appreciation that comes from the subconscious state of mind following positive affirmation. It is the affirmation and sources of goodness that are outside ourselves that creates our power of choice between gratefulness and ungratefulness. Being grateful is more than an emotional response; it’s an attitude acknowledging the connection. That person who is constantly in a good mood and always winning at life … that can be you!

The Importance of Gratitude

Thankfulness plays a huge role in the way we perceive the world around us. Although it is a personal decision, giving thanks generates positive emotions, which provides us with an immediate feeling of well being. It is strongly linked to mental health and overall life satisfaction, which largely includes our relationships with others.

Did you know that gratitude is a relational disposition? That means it is a feeling that reaches far past the individual experiencing it. Think of it as a hypothetical flash mob. It is a movement that flows steadily through a crowd, creating an invisible bond between each and every person. Now think of how powerful a tool showing recognition is, especially when trying to close a deal.

Why Gratitude Works

There is no worse feeling than putting in hard work, time, and effort to receive nothing in return, not even a small gesture of thanks. It’s hard to not take it personally. It leaves one feeling undervalued and creates a cycle of negative energy. Nonetheless, there is no action too big or small that showing gratitude doesn’t have a positive effect on. It is a reciprocal act by nature, building trust in relationships and promoting positive feedback. You get what you give, in the office and in life.

Gratitude in Relationships

In business, there are two things there can never be too much of. That is revenue and business. You’re probably wondering how to get more of those two things. The basis of all opportunity lies in creating solid relationships. What’s the secret to moving in a positive direction with any new acquaintance? You guessed it! Gratitude. By showing someone you are grateful for them, even with a verbal “Thank You”, your relationship is bound to move forward in the right direction. The same goes for business relationships. An ideal business relationship is one that is profitable both short term and long term. The key to driving sales, you ask? Giving thanks!

Gratitude in the Workplace

We can all vouch for feeling unappreciated in the workplace. There is nothing that throws your motivation out the door faster than feeling like your every move goes unnoticed, be it a good or bad one.

It is estimated that $11 billion is lost in the workforce every year due to high employee turnover with about 71% of all American employees feeling disengaged and 26% feeling actively disengaged. What is the biggest contributor to disengagement from employees? The lack or complete absence of gratitude. You would be surprised (or maybe not so surprised) to know that retention rates greatly increase with gratitude in the workplace. In a Workforce Mood Tracker survey at Globoforce in 2014, it was found that 86% of employees who were recognized in the workplace were more motivated in their positions.

Imagine you are in an office with a huge deadline quickly approaching and lots to be done. The resulting energy in the room is directly related to the reaction of anybody who is holding someone else accountable for a task. They, in turn, have two choices when it comes to approaching the task holder. Give them negative feedback for what is possibly going awry, which would result in lower engagement and quality of work, or show them appreciation for what is going right, leading to an increase in drive and trust in the working relationship. Remember, gratefulness is reciprocal and works both ways.

What does this mean? There doesn’t need to be a workplace meltdown before you can show appreciation. It should be a routine practice to make leads, prospects, and clients feel important.

The Correlation Between Gratitude and Business Relationships

Looking to grow in numbers when it comes to prospective clients is our immediate reaction to what it means to grow and build a successful business. In the case of strong business relationships, it is much more about quality than quantity. Relationship building is imperative to growth and success of any business.

The correlation between gratitude and business relationships is linear. The greater the appreciation that is expressed is, the stronger the bond is between business and client. A prospect is much more naturally inclined to build a long-term and loyal relationship with a business when they know their best interest is at heart. How do you leave a lasting impression after your first meeting? Gratitude.

There is nothing that says trust and respect more than showing a prospect how much their time was valued than by blatantly showing them. Not to say a handshake to end a meeting with a follow-up email is a complete waste of time, but how does that separate you from the rest of the crowd? Showing appreciation is a mutual act that goes far beyond any transaction. You want to show that you aren’t simply aiming to sell to them, but looking forward to working together for the foreseeable future.

Ways to Practice Gratitude

Pay Attention

The world around us is what we perceive it to be. We often focus on negative thoughts and experiences by nature to a great degree. By shifting our cognitive processes to recognize positives, it is returned to us tenfold.

Imagine you are in a meeting with a big name prospect. They tell you about various companies they work with that are your direct competitors. Your first thought is that there is no way you will ever win over their business if they are already working with the leaders in the industry. They also give you a list of reasons why they accepted a meeting with you, one point being they heard how well you treat and work with your current clients.
By focusing on how grateful you are to hear about your reputation with those you currently work with, you will not only be given an instant boost of confidence, but your prospective client will also recognize that you genuinely appreciate their kind words. Remember, gratitude is reciprocal.


The most common form of showing gratitude is by writing. Be it writing your own personal thoughts and feelings or to someone letting them know you are thankful for them. Sending off an email with a small thank you note is a no-brainer when it comes to actions taken after a business meeting. It may seem like a necessary step in the sales funnel, but by following through with such a small act of gratitude, you are only grazing the surface of forming a solid pyramid of trust.


Let’s not forget the best and most effective form of showing appreciation, expression! Who said it had to be a special occasion to show someone you value him or her? That’s what makes this form of practicing gratitude that much more effective. Everybody loves receiving gifts and the best gift of all is the giving itself. Something as small as sending a coffee to your client after a demo could be the difference between them working with you in the long haul or fizzling.

Does it Pay to Show Gratitude?

Yes, absolutely! Gratefulness is your secret weapon for closing any deal. Keep in mind; you are working to build a relationship, not giving with the expectation to receive. Genuinely extending gratitude leads to stronger and more stable business relationships eventually giving your business and increases in revenue and loyally committed clients.

A study done at Harvard Business School found that happier people give more, in turn, making others happy and creating a positive feedback loop with its start at giving thanks. Your numbers will show you, it is worth going the extra mile and spending the extra dollar to show someone you appreciate their time and work. There is no such thing as showing too much gratitude.

Written by: Ariella Sharf, Editor and Founder of Heart and Vogue