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Simple Ways to Show Gratitude (and don't we all need it right now!)

Posted by Lea Chatham on Nov 25, 2020 12:15:00 PM

This has been quite a year, and we know everyone is feeling the strain. As we turn the corner to Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season, it's the perfect time to think about gratitude. And, research has consistently shown that gratitude improves our overall health and well-being as well as the health and well-being of those we thank. So, we could all probably use a bit of that right now. To get you started, here are five easy ways that Lori Boyer from the Solutionreach blog recently shared and we want to share here as well. Use these suggestions to sincerely and generously share your thankfulness with coworkers and patients.

  1. Say “Thank You”. I know, I know. This seems a little obvious. But here’s the deal. Studies have shown that managers who remember to say “thank you” to their employees can expect those employees to work up to 50 percent harder than those who have not been thanked. That is the power of a simple thank you. This power extends to patients, coworkers, bosses, and everyone. If you have a hard time remembering to say thank you, try this exercise for a few days. After every single interaction with another person, quickly think of something you’re grateful for about that person or interaction. Soon you will find that it is easy and natural to find gratitude in any situation.
  2. Say it like you mean it. While studies have shown that saying “thank you” can be really powerful, there is one caveat. You have to actually MEAN it. If you don’t, your body language will give you away every time. When thanking someone, make an effort to stop whatever else you're doing so you can make eye contact when you speak. This even works on the phone. When thanking someone who can’t see you, make an effort to direct your attention to that person and SMILE. They will hear it in your voice.
  3. Pull your hand out of retirement. Look. I get it. Technology is waaaayyyy cooler than the old fashioned method of handwriting a note, but a written note of appreciation is often a way to surprise patients in this era of constant communication. Handwriting a note of gratitude to your staff or coworkers can be a special gesture at Thanksgiving. Of course, writing such a note to each individual patient is probably out of the question. It would simply take too much time. Instead, shoot of a personalized email or text message showing that you’re grateful for them and thinking of them at this time.
  4. When complimenting people, start with the word “you.” This is a trick I learned in a communications class way back in college. The use of “I” versus “you” gives a whole different feeling to a sentence. Why? There is a subconscious reaction to the two different words. By beginning with the word “you,” you're shining a light on the other person rather than yourself. So instead of saying, “Wow. I think that was a great job!” go with something like “Wow. You did a great job!” (Another hint: If you’re wanting to apologize, do the opposite. Always begin a compliment with the word “you” and an apology with the word “I.”
  5. Thank outside of the box. While (of course!) you should be thanking staff members, colleagues, family, and friends, don't stop there. Willingly share random words of appreciation with strangers, newcomers, patients, and other providers. What about your vendors? The UPS person? The list of people is endless. Sharing gratitude with a variety of people will improve your happiness and the happiness of those around you even more.

In conclusion, we'd like to say thank you for all you do. We appreciate your hard work and the care you give to your patients. And if you're wondering about using tools like text to reach out to patients, check out our latest guide, Text: It's What's Next.

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Lea Chatham

Written by Lea Chatham

Lea Chatham is the Director of Content Marketing at Solutionreach and the editor of the SR Health blog. She develops educational resources to help healthcare organizations improve patient engagement. Her work has been published in many leading journals including Physicians Practice and Medical Economics and she has presented webinars for industry groups like MGMA.