Being grateful is part of building your resilience (and more)


There are people on the planet that would love your life. They would love the freedom that you have, the health that you have, the relationships that you have, and even the struggles that you have. There are people on the planet that would be grateful to be in your position. 

And for the sake of this article will presume that you are happy to be in the position you are in, too. But I will also presume, that like most people, you don’t spend too much time thinking about how grateful you are, and even less time writing down or journaling about the things or people you are grateful for.  

The wellbeing benefits of being grateful have been well studied, researched, and documented. And like all good theories, gratitude is not new, and it has been espoused by some of the great philosophers, going back as far as the second century. One Marcus Aurelius quote says that “All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.” So, if gratitude can help the last of the great rulers, also known as the Five Good Roman Emperors, maybe it can work for us.  

But like everything in our lives that makes a difference, it takes work, and it takes effort. The effort is worth it, though, as gratitude is linked to increased levels of happiness, resilience, and relationships. 

Gratitude for happiness and other positive emotions 

Sheldon and Lyubomirsky (2006) studied whether or not gratitude could have an impact on our emotional state. Sonja Lyubomirsky herself appears to study happiness more than gratitude. But in an attempt to understand what can change our mood (and make us happy), her work inevitably led to gratitude. Lyubomirsky called it ‘counting our blessings’. The study reported that expressing gratitude (being thankful and appreciative) elevates our positive emotions. Why, because it “fosters the savouring of positive life experiences and situations, so that people can extract the maximum possible satisfaction and enjoyment from their circumstances”. Gratitude prevents people from taking good things for granted. The expression of gratitude is thought to also increase moral behaviour (like paying it forward), which in turn also increases happiness. Being happy, and feeling good about ourselves, and about our situation, helps us to enjoy life more. The message from this study was that gratitude helps us to feel happier. Though there was a caveat… it only has that affect if we practice gratitude on a regular basis, preferably daily.

Gratitude for resilience

In his ground breaking and ‘unputdownable’ (wow, that is a word … I just checked) book, The Resilience Project, Hugh van Cuylenburg talked through the GEM process, which is gratitude, empathy, and mindfulness. In that book, van Cuylenburg unpacked the power of gratitude and the amazing benefits of gratitude in relation to how resilient we are in our everyday lives. Feeling grateful changes our brain chemistry (according to Mind and Body) in a way that makes rumination more difficult. Rumination can be debilitating if not addressed with improved self-talk and even Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Gratitude helps you to stop ruminating, to cope with what has happened, and ‘advance through adversity’ (the definition of resilience). In short, gratitude increases your resilience, by reducing your rumination, and helping you to bounce back quicker. And who wouldn’t love to be a able to do that?

Gratitude for relationships

Just imagine for a moment all of the amazing humans that you have been fortunate enough to be exposed to during your life, and how many of them have helped shape you into the great human you are today… So, how grateful are you for all of their support? And would you be where you are without all of their input, guidance, coaching, support, nurturing and care? Possibly not (and, yes, for anyone reading this, that is thinking about all of the people that have wronged you – believe it or not, they have helped you too, and helped you learn a lesson in life).

The message is that our relationships shape our life. The great business philosopher (aka motivational speaker), Tony Robbins, famously states that ‘the quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of your relationships’. And this is so true. Higher quality relationships equates to a higher quality life. And then there is the find-remind-and-bind theory. “The find-remind-and-bind theory of gratitude posits that the positive emotion of gratitude serves the evolutionary function of strengthening a relationship with a responsive interaction partner (Algoe, Haidt, & Gable, 2008). In short, the more grateful we are for everything… and everyone… in our lives, the better we are at connecting with others, and building relationships through interactions and conversation. Remember that we are both a primitive species living a modern existence, as well as a social creature craving connection. Being grateful helps us connect.

But how do I start?

Being grateful is a very easy process. Take a minute now to think about (preferably write down – writing connects thoughts to the world around us and once written, something can never be unwritten) what you are grateful for. Just give thanks. Say out loud thank you for what ever it is you are thankful for. If you want to start practicing gratitude, please email me, for a free electronic copy of your NOW Gratitude Journal, that you can use to get started.

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

UPGRADE your Mindset
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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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Amazing sources to check out from our blogs: https://theguineagroup.com.au/as-a-leader-how-do-you-feel-and-think-about-yourself/



Amazing sources to check out from others:

Algoe, S. B. (2012). Find, remind, and bind: The functions of gratitude in everyday relationships. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6(6), 455-469. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2012.00439.x

Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How to increase and sustain positive emotion: The effects of expressing gratitude and visualizing best possible selves. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(2), 73-82. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760500510676




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