Gratitude and Workforce Resilience
AzCRH’s Advancing Health Equity, Addressing Disparities (AHEAD AZ) project is committed to raising awareness about strategies for building resilience to counteract effects leading to burnout in the workplace.
A Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation survey conducted in the spring of 2021 revealed that of 1,327 frontline healthcare workers in the US, 55% reported burnout defined as mental and physical exhaustion from chronicworkplace stress. Survey data also show that healthcare workers providing direct care to COVID-19 patients are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and mental distress.
In this season of giving thanks, we would like to highlight the interconnectedness between expressing gratitude and building resilience in the workforce – particularly salient during times of crisis and immense stress such as many are experiencing with the current epidemic. Gratitude as instrumental to achieving happiness has been researched extensively. Studies on its benefits document ways in which actively showing appreciation can lead to personal well-being including strengthening positive emotions, improving health, increasing optimism, reducing materialism, and lowering stress – all of which have implications leading to greater resilience.
An article from The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley illustrates the mitigating effect that practicing gratitude can have on burnout experienced by nursing staff during the pandemic. The article references several studies including one in which researchers asked 1,575 healthcare workers, 22% of them nurses, to write a brief letter of gratitude to someone who had done something special that had benefitted them. Results showed that emotional burnout was significantly reduced for these workers up to a week later.
Here are some examples and resources employers can implement to support their personnel in the practice of expressing gratitude:
- Gratitude as Medical Survival Kit – Resources to support health professionals’ work by drawing on the practices and benefits of gratitude including strategies to make a science-based case for infusing more gratitude into healthcare organizations.
- Your 5-dayGratitude Challenge: 5 Exercises to Increase your Gratefulness – Exercises to help individuals add more thanks to their lives.
- Welcome to The 3 Good Things – An easy-to-use online gratitude journal for jotting down three things each day that have gone well or resulted in happiness.
- A Network for Grateful Living – An online “sanctuary” for grateful living featuring a short video meditation recorded by Br. David Steindl-Rast.