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How Practicing Gratitude Can Connect to Improved Security

About five years ago, a spiritual friend encouraged me to start each day by reaching for a bedside notebook and writing down three things for which I was grateful. These "gratefuls," she told me, could be run the gamut, from the mundane and silly to the meaningful and earnest.

"I'm grateful for the fresh taste of toothpaste."

"I'm grateful for my relationship with my brother."

"I'm grateful to be alive."

She added another item to the task: Send the occasional unsolicited "thank you" note to important people in your life, just to let them know how much you appreciate them.

I had never given much thought to deliberately documenting why I was thankful about anything - or anyone - but once I started, I noticed an almost  immediate improvement in the way I felt. But as easy as it was to do, and having personally experienced the benefits of a practice of gratitude, I haven't kept up with the exercise as much as I wish.

With Thanksgiving approaching, there is no better time for everyone to embrace gratitude once again, this time making sure to extend it to the workplace as well. Studies have concluded that showing and receiving gratitude is often overlooked in office environments - a place where we spend a third or more of our days.

Let's  work to change that. Security pros can be a cynical, paranoid and suspicious bunch, but they have a lot to be grateful for.

Not only do you work in one of the most booming occupations in the world, you also are in the virtuous position of helping to keep others safe. Being grateful will help you remain resolute when the times get tough by boosting your overall health and making you more apt to handle a stressful situation, something that can come in handy in a profession teeming with pressures.

At the same time, you are trying to make it through one of the most egregious and ineluctable talent shortages of our time, so keeping your skilled employees feeling good about themselves should be a major priority. Workers feel happier and more fulfilled from something as simple as a "thank you" from a manager, according to studies. Research has shown that employees who feel appreciated respond with greater productivity, motivation and loyalty.

If you're sitting down at the Thanksgiving table this week, share your gratitude with family and friends. Just make sure to keep it going long after you've passed the stuffing and consumed the leftovers.

Dan Kaplan is manager of online content at Trustwave.