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Gratitude is a powerful tool for 911 dispatchers and other dispatch professionals. The unique challenges of this field can be aided with the help of gratitude, which can improve mental health, physical health, relationships, and professional life. During National Public Safety Telecommunicator's Week, we wanted to take a moment to dive deep into the benefits of gratitude for the hard work of 911 Dispatchers and learn how we can all approach gratitude with intent.

Being grateful is not necessarily an inherent trait but rather a habit that anyone can cultivate. Since gratitude has the potential to positively impact almost every aspect of your life, it is a habit worth getting into! 

10 ways in which practicing gratitude can lead to personal improvement:

1. It helps cope with challenging situations. Intentionally experiencing gratitude can help you harness the strength to move on from difficult moments. Finding things to be grateful for – especially in a stressful position – helps avoid adverse side effects from the job.

2. Gratitude can aid in achieving closure following unpleasant experiences. Reframing negative memories through a lens of gratitude makes it easier to process them and move towards finding closure and inner peace.

3. According to UC Davis, gratitude can be correlated with up to a 23% decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol, which is particularly important in stressful jobs, as cortisol from high stress can negatively affect your health, including digestion, heart disease, headaches, and memory impairment.

4. There is a possibility that gratitude even slows the neurodegeneration associated with aging! This could be because of the enhanced ability to keep things in perspective, which keeps you happy, and happiness = health.

5. Gratitude helps your sleep – like the song says – count your blessings instead of sheep! Thinking positive thoughts before bed soothes your nerves and helps you sleep better and longer.

6. Research suggests that experiencing gratitude can have a positive impact on the immune system. A study found that when stressed-out students considered themselves optimistic and grateful, they had more disease-fighting cells compared to those who did not think of themselves in that manner.

7. Expressing gratitude has been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. By cultivating an appreciation for one's circumstances, it becomes easier to let go of envy toward others. This, in turn, can enhance one's sense of self-worth and boost self-esteem, resulting in an overall improvement in emotional well-being.

8. Practicing gratitude can help to build trust with those around you. Acknowledging and appreciating the efforts of others enhances communication and understanding, leading to a sense of being seen and valued. Building trust is especially critical in a high-pressure working environment such as a PSAP to prevent burnout and maintain a supportive team dynamic.

9. Gratitude can enhance productivity by boosting psychological resilience. Coping with stress in a high-pressure role like that of a dispatcher can be challenging, but by cultivating a sense of appreciation and thankfulness, individuals can develop the ability to bounce back more easily from setbacks and dispatcher stress.

10. Research has suggested that expressing gratitude can improve decision-making skills. Grateful individuals tend to exhibit more patience, allowing them to handle pressure and think through situations more effectively. This increased thoughtfulness can lead to better decision-making.

But how can you learn to make gratitude your superpower?

Starting a gratitude practice is easy. You can start small by telling someone like a family member or coworker that you appreciate them or by thinking of three things each day that made you happy and that you appreciate. Gratitude is like a flywheel – it builds momentum over time, and it is easy to grow from there to making a list of the things you are grateful for or journaling each day. Doing something nice for someone to show you are grateful for them is also a great way to practice gratitude; it creates a virtuous cycle of positivity!

By practicing gratitude, we can experience many benefits in physical and mental health, relationships, and work life. So go ahead and express your gratitude today - you might be surprised at the positive impact it has on yourself and those around you!

We at Watson Consoles want to express our gratitude and support for the 911 Dispatch Community. We are proud to be part of your lives, and helping you help others is our north star when we make decisions about our products. Thank you for all of the work you do – we see you, and we appreciate you! We are giving away our collectible 2023 badges as a token of our appreciation. Fill out the form here, and we’ll get your Watson Consoles badge out to you!

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