Gratitude is Indeed the Best Attitude
Having done a lot of research on the factors associated with emotional and psychological wellbeing in aged care, I can safely say that gratitude plays a large role in how we perceive our environment and circumstances. It can be difficult to see the “good side” at times, particularly when in ill health or when working in a job that we do not particularly like. The combination of ill health in clients with a job which we do not like, for whatever reason, can have profound effects on how we engage with clients. If we are in a bad mood, we are likely to project it in our interactions through a process known as emotional contagion.
Emotional contagion is a natural process which occurs when emotions are exchanged between individuals. The theory posits that people ‘catch’ emotional projections from others in an automatic, fast and fleeting process which is conceptualised as a multiple determined family of psychophysiological, behavioural, and social phenomena. People attend to others, they continuously and non-consciously mimic other’s fleeting emotional expressions and synchronise their facial, vocal, postural, and instrumental expressions with those to whom they are attending. Individuals particularly susceptible to emotional contagion are those who pay close attention to others and are able to read others’ emotional expressions, construe themselves as interrelated with others rather than independent and unique, tend to mimic facial, vocal, and postural expressions, and whose conscious emotional experience is powerfully influenced by peripheral feedback.
So, what can we do to improve sharing of positive emotions and minimise the effects of negative emotions? Gratitude.
Instead of focusing on what we HAVE to do, we can get look at things we GET to do. Such as, we get to go to work, where others do not have that ability due to factors such as their health. We GET to reminiscence with clients about their experiences and life events. We GET to write three things every morning that we are grateful for.
I will sign off with this powerful quote:
"The greatest gift that you could ever give to another is your own happiness, for when you are in a state of joy, happiness, or appreciation, you are fully connected to the Stream of pure, positive Source Energy that is truly who you are. And when you are in that state of connection, anything or anyone that you are holding as your object of attention benefits from your attention."
-- Esther and Jerry Hicks in Ask and It Is Given