21 Oct 2020
Take some time this Wednesday to thank your cleaner. Expressing gratitude to others lets them know they’re appreciated. Lifeline WA bereavement counsellor Naomi Weir says gratitude is good for your health and wellbeing as well.
In a time where the importance of good hygiene is more evident than ever, professional cleaners play a significant role in the protection of our community. Every day, hard-working cleaners clean our public facilities and offices to ensure we can continue business as usual in a safe, clean environment. Cleaners often work early in the morning or late at night to avoid disrupting daily operations. It could even be said that cleaners do such a good job of keeping out of the way, we sometimes forget that they are here. Luckily, October 21st is Thank Your Cleaner Day. A day to thank cleaners for the important, but often invisible, role they play in keeping our society safe
Thank Your Cleaner Day is an excellent opportunity to express gratitude and recognise the valuable work that cleaners do. Expressing gratitude allows others to feel seen, valued and appreciated, and it can be great for your own mental health and wellbeing too. Lifeline WA bereavement counsellor Naomi Weir says gratitude is one of the simplest ways we can improve our lives and mental health. “Research shows that people who practice gratitude and approach their daily experiences with positivity and thankfulness are generally happier,” she says.
One way gratitude can improve our lives is by encouraging stronger and more connected relationships with others. Naomi suggests that “gratitude helps us recognise that often the source of happiness is external and lies outside of ourselves”. By recognising this external source of happiness, Naomi believes that people can start to appreciate their surroundings and the people close to them, resulting in stronger connections and less feelings of loneliness.
“Gratitude can also help reduce selfish behaviours, while increasing acts of kindness and giving to others,” Naomi explains. Feeling and expressing gratitude can strengthen all kinds of relationships and encourage kind, helpful and giving communities. Gratitude can also be good for your physical health.
“Practicing gratitude increases our resilience to stress and allows us to better manage and cope with life’s challenges,” Naomi suggests. Research shows that expressing gratitude can have a positive effect on quality of sleep and can even have a lasting effect on neural activity in the brain. Naomi explains “people who express gratitude are often physically healthier and enjoy good mental health and overall wellbeing”.
Evidently gratitude seems pretty good for everyone. But how do we do it? Naomi simplifies gratitude to “being mindful of the positives in your day, acknowledging the good feelings and paying attention to the small moments of joy”. Gratitude takes practice at first, but Naomi encourages others to “begin by asking yourself, at the end of each day what you are most thankful for or what brought you happiness today”. It is not unusual for this exercise to be practised at dinner time and shared with family and loved ones. Some other common methods for expressing gratitude include keeping a gratitude journal, making a gratitude collage or writing ‘thank you’ letters to people you are grateful for, like your cleaners.
Naomi suggests that practicing gratitude does not have to be saved for grand gestures and can be expressed on any day. “Gratitude can be for small moments of simplicity or huge life changing moments,” Naomi says. “We can be grateful for the sunshine or the sound of the ocean, or maybe for someone special or something a person did that really helped us survive the day.” To enhance gratitude, Naomi recommends practicing being mindful and paying attention to experiences throughout the day. “If we are able to become more self-aware and be mindful to how we feel, think and experience our internal and external world, then we can begin to acknowledge the true goodness of our lives,” she says.
Lifeline WA would like to express gratitude to our wonderful cleaners, Hannah and Gary, who do an excellent job of keeping our office clean and deserve a big thank you not just on Thank Your Cleaner Day but every day.
Written by Liz Schleicher
Image Credit: Photo by Caleb Chen on Unsplash
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