Linda Roszak Burton, ACC, BBC, BS, is Founder and Managing Partner of DRW, Inc., a leadership development and executive coaching firm. The firm supports the development of positive and healthy cultures, positive leaders, and engaged employees to further their mission-driven and values-based services.
Linda combines the latest research in positive psychology, gratitude, and neuroscience in the delivery of executive and team coaching services. In addition, she supports various research initiatives as it relates to employee engagement and building a healthy and positive work environment.
We asked Linda a couple of questions about her experience in psychology, gratitude, and neuroscience.
How did you get into your field?
As an executive coach, I wanted to offer coaching services based on research and evidence-based practices at a time when coaching was still relatively new, and standards of practice and a code of ethics were becoming service differentiators. Coaching is now seen as a worthwhile investment in personal growth with positive outcomes professionally, organizationally and holistically. It is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.
Tell us a little bit about what you uncovered with the Gratitude Intervention Study. Our 2018-2019 Gratitude Intervention Study included Direct Care Workers (DCW) in a Dementia-Specific Assisted Living facility. The 8-week intervention included consent as a participant, just-in-time education sessions, selection of various tools and techniques and gratitude huddles. The program resulted in statistically significant improvements in employee engagement (p<0.001) and meaningfulness of work (p<0.001) between baseline and post-intervention. Meaningfulness of work included being elevated and motivated in a work environment that was physically, mentally and emotionally difficult.
Why do you think the world needs to understand positive psychology and gratitude?
Positive psychology is considered complementary to traditional psychology. Early on, positive psychology was misrepresented – all smiley faces and be happy slogans. Just as good health isn’t just the absence of disease and being fearless isn’t the absence of fear. Positive psychology isn’t the absence of pain and suffering. It is the scientific study of how strengths enable individuals, communities and institutions to thrive.
Gratitude is considered a strength and is viewed as one of the strongest links to mental health, including lower levels of depression and anxiety and a reduced risk of substance abuse disorders. Reflecting and expressing gratitude activates the parasympathetic nervous system (calming part of the nervous system.) In doing so, you’re able to achieve many positive health benefits, including a better quality and duration of sleep, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. Additionally, brain scans show that being grateful activates regions of the brain associated with improving psychological well-being, taking the perspective of others and predicting future moral actions.