Year of Resilience Tip #10: Practice Gratitude
Research around gratitude is one of the secrets of a resilient life. Understanding gratitude and how to implement it in your life and work teams will strengthen your ability to
The tip this week is to begin implementing a proven gratitude practice, resilience.
In the face of adversity, it is easy to feel down and discouraged. However, cultivating gratitude and resilience can help us to maintain a positive outlook and overcome challenges. Gratitude is the practice of acknowledging and appreciating the good things we have in life, while resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficult situations. In this blog post, we will explore the connection between gratitude and resilience, and how these two qualities can help us to thrive in the face of adversity.
The Benefits of Gratitude on Resilience
Gratitude has been shown to have several benefits for our mental health and overall well-being. When we focus on the good things in our lives, we are less likely to feel anxious, depressed, or stressed. Gratitude helps us build stronger relationships with others, as we are more likely to express appreciation and kindness towards those around us. Research has even demonstrated physical benefits such as improving sleep quality and boosting the immune system.
Gratitude plays a key role in building resilience. as it helps us to maintain a positive outlook even in the face of adversity. By focusing on the good things in our lives, we can develop a sense of perspective that allows us to see challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. When we practice gratitude regularly, we are better equipped to handle difficult situations and maintain our emotional well-being in the face of adversity.
The reason that gratitude impacts mental health is that it literally rewires our brains and induces structural changes that impact emotion and our ability to find opportunities.
Benefits in the Workplace
Gratitude and resilience are important qualities not just in our personal lives, but also in the workplace. When we express gratitude towards our colleagues and bosses, we build stronger relationships and foster a more positive work environment.
Imagine a sales team that is struggling to meet its targets. Instead of becoming discouraged, giving up, or descending into toxic competition, the team leader encourages them to focus on the positive aspects of their work, like building relationships with clients and helping customers find solutions to their problems. By cultivating a sense of gratitude for the good things in their work, the leader instills motivation for healthy attitudes and improved performance.
Another major benefit in the workplace is the “witnessing effect.” This term comes from Sara Algoe, a psychology and neuroscience researcher. Expressing public feelings of gratitude toward another person causes others who “witness” this expression to view the benefactor in a positive light and as a resource for help and action. As a leader, expressing gratitude to an individual in a team setting changes how that person is viewed by other team members. This is a powerful motivational and team-building strategy.
Strategies for Cultivating Gratitude and Resilience
There are many strategies we can use to cultivate gratitude and resilience in our lives. Robert Emmons, a psychology researcher at UC Davis, breaks gratitude into two key parts.
- Affirming the good things we’ve received
- Acknowledging the beneficial role other people play in our lives
When you seek to practice gratitude, it is about focusing on the small things that rewire the brain. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.”
These 8 strategies will help you begin to instill gratitude in your life.
Gratitude Journal – In every study on gratitude, the gratitude journal always makes a list of actions with the power to quickly change our mental health. This doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Daily writing down 1-3 things you are grateful for is the minimum effective dose. This focuses us on the positive aspects of our lives and builds a sense of appreciation for the good things we have.
By recalling moments of gratitude, you retrain your mind to look for good events in your daily life.This is exactly why grateful people tend to see more opportunities.
Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the act of being present and aware of your surroundings. By taking the time to tune into the present moment, you increase your ability to notice the positive things around you and feel grateful for them. For example, if you are a naturally grateful person, you may already be more mindful of the kind gestures of others. The more you practice mindfulness, the more likely you are to recognize the good things in your life that you can be thankful for. This, in turn, leads to greater satisfaction and happiness. Being mindful of your surroundings is crucial for appreciating the beauty of nature, the kindness of others, and the opportunities that life presents. Whether it’s noticing someone’s help in the kitchen or the color of the sky, simply taking the time to be aware will generate a sense of gratitude.
Share your gratitude for your loved ones – It’s common for many of us to unintentionally overlook the kindness shown to us by our loved ones. To combat this, why not make it a habit to express gratitude through simple gestures like saying ‘thank you’ or giving a hug when you notice their acts of kindness? It’s important to appreciate and acknowledge their efforts, and not take them for granted. This practice of regularly showing gratitude improves and fortifies your relationships with those around you.
Studies have shown that sharing your gratitude with others has a positive impact on your relationships.
So, the next time your partner, friend, or family member does something that you appreciate, make it a point to let them know how grateful you are for their kindness.
Be Grateful for Adversity – Try reframing every event, including negative ones, as something that happened for your benefit. Even if it was bad, remember it. It’s useful to recall past hardships to cultivate gratitude in your present state. By reflecting on how challenging life used to be and how much progress you’ve made, you create a clear contrast in your mind. This contrast provides a rich foundation for gratitude.
Use Visual Reminders – Visual reminders are effective in triggering gratitude as forgetfulness and lack of mindful awareness are the primary obstacles to gratefulness. Other people often serve as the best visual reminders.
Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude – According to research, taking an oath to perform a behavior increases the chances of actually following through with it. As a result, create your own gratitude vow, such as “I pledge to acknowledge my blessings every day,” and display it somewhere where you’ll see it daily to serve as a reminder.
Watch Your Language – Your words are powerful in shaping the way you view the world. Individuals who experience gratitude tend to utilize a specific style of language that emphasizes gifts, givers, blessings, being blessed, good fortune, being fortunate, and abundance. It is important to note that when expressing gratitude, the focus should not be on one’s own inherent goodness, but rather on the good deeds performed by others on their behalf.
Pretend to be grateful – Performing grateful gestures such as smiling, expressing appreciation, and composing letters of gratitude induces feelings of gratitude. Even when you don’t feel grateful, engaging in these “grateful motions” frequently helps evoke the emotion of gratitude more regularly.
Gratitude and resilience are powerful tools for maintaining a positive outlook and overcoming challenges. By focusing on the good things in our lives and building a sense of perspective, we develop the resilience we need to thrive in the face of adversity. Whether we are facing personal struggles or workplace challenges, cultivating gratitude and resilience helps us to stay strong and move forward with our lives.