From the Q-mmunity

On Gratitude: Harnessing Mental Wellness with WLD

When I think about my “why”, I consider the following to be most important:

  1. Being stretched outside my comfort zone
  2. Connecting with others

Being a part of the Women’s Leadership Development (WLD) Q Group has allowed me to live out my “why” in many different ways. My involvement in WLD started when I volunteered to help out with an event called SheTech, and ended up being the point person for Qualtrics involvement in the event. I had never designed workshops, recruited and trained volunteers, and served as the go-to person for an event before, so I was definitely out of my comfort zone and learned a ton from the experience. After this, I joined the events committee for WLD and have worked alongside awesome committee members and dedicated volunteers to throw some great events.

Now that we’re all working from home, planning and attending events looks a bit different! But it’s still really important to me to be able to connect with the community around me, and luckily the WLD committees and leadership teams share this value. The WLD group sprang into action and is now running all different types of events each week, which range from yoga and meditation sessions to info sessions on various topics to lunch discussion groups focused around different resources and materials.

In the spirit of expanding my comfort zone, I decided to volunteer to host the first virtual event. When I was in college, gratitude became a meaningful value of mine and appreciating all that I have is very important to me. Acknowledging what I do have is hard in the face of stress or challenges, but it’s been essential in making me feel better and push through adversity. Because practicing gratitude has helped me, I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences with the amazing people of WLD!

I scheduled 30 mins on the Qualtrics Life calendar to talk about gratitude. The first 15 minutes were spent discussing gratitude. I opened the session by asking how people are feeling these days. We had a bunch of responses that were pretty mixed: anxious, productive, nervous, uneasy, happy to be spending time with family, lazy, etc. No one will be able to feel the benefits of practicing gratitude if they find it forced or phony, so it was important to me that people understood that by practicing gratitude, it doesn’t mean that you have to ignore these feelings. They’re valid and very important to process. But by practicing gratitude, you can also acknowledge what you do have and what is positive in your life, and research shows that these benefits can occur:

  • Improved relationships
  • Enhanced empathy, reduced aggression
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Reduced impatience
  • Better physical and mental health
  • Increased mental strength ability to overcome challenges

(cited here: https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-gratitude-research-questions/

Lifehack: if you want people to complete tasks that are important to you, schedule time on their calendar for them to complete them. I knew I didn’t need to talk about gratitude for a half-hour for people to soak it in. I needed them to take action during those 30 mins in order for them to feel its benefits. The second half of the session was focused on my challenge to the attendees. I asked them to please leave the meeting and complete these tasks. They had the time set aside anyway, so there was no excuse not to do the following:

  • Create a recurring calendar event to prompt a reflection about what you’re grateful for. I didn’t specify the time of day or the cadence of the calendar reminders since that should be unique to each person. But this one was important because I didn’t want people to leave the Zoom meeting and completely forget about what we had talked about.
  • Text, call, email, or write a quick handwritten note to someone letting them know that you’re grateful for them and WHY you’re grateful for them. It’s so easy to feel grateful for the people in your life, but to forget to tell them. Thanking friends, family, and significant others for the things that they do can help strengthen relationships, which may be necessary if you’ve been spending too much time in close quarters with them. Plus, it often results in a compliment to you, so it’s a win, win!
  • Change your phone or laptop background to a picture of something you’re grateful for. This challenge was meant to remind people on a daily basis that there are good things in their lives, even if these days all we hear about is the scary, the negative, or the forlorn. I changed my background to a picture I took of the beach where I’m from, and every time I notice it I feel a sense of calm.
  • Thank yourself - write a note to yourself to say thank you for all that you’re doing. Tape this note to your bathroom mirror so that you see it when you go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow morning. It’s so easy when you’re thinking about gratitude to forget about yourself. Especially during the transition to working from home - people are focused on all the things they’re lacking or aren’t getting done. This task was to cause attendees to remember that they are human beings and that they’re amazing ones at that.

Mackenzie Schneider // Global Program Manager

Mackenzie started her career as a Product Specialist and is now a Global Program Manager focused on services enablement. She is from Norfolk, Virginia, and was the field hockey Team Captain at Georgetown University, where she studied psychology. At Qualtrics, she is working to create sustainable growth through the services ecosystem and strives to empower women through the Women’s Leadership Development (WLD) group.

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