Gratitude practice

6 September, 2017

Why does gratitude help us to feel calmer?

This year, I’ve had the good fortune to work on a research project investigating the outcomes of an increased focus on gratitude by educators in leadership roles in early childhood centres. This has been a collaborative project with my colleague, Dr Megan Gibson, from Queensland University of Technology and the Anglican Schools Commission, Brisbane. A common theme is arising from the interview data. When asked what is the biggest change they have noticed, most research project participants immediately respond with “I feel calmer”. I constantly hear responses like “I can’t believe how calm I feel” or “everyone around me is […]
15 June, 2017

The six pillars of gratitude: Pillar 3 – empathy

Even if we have can find the authentic place within ourselves to sincerely express our gratitude, we need to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of the person we wish to express our gratitude to.  We need to understand all of the cultural and social nuances of gratitude in their context. A key to being able to achieve this is the character strength of empathy. It may be helpful to realise that we tend to express gratitude in ways that we would like to receive it. For example, if we like to be thanked verbally and publicly in […]
15 June, 2017

The six pillars of gratitude: Pillar 2 – sincerity

As I explained in The Six Pillars of Gratitude handout, our deep gratitude is built on the strength of our sincerity. A common challenge is expressing gratitude in ways that are authentic to us and meaningful to the other person. Without this focus our gratitude risks being transactional; we may be wanting something in return or being self-serving. When we think about deepening our gratitude by moving from feeling deep appreciation to expressing it in some way, we may find it difficult to do this authentically. We may also wonder if the person to whom we are expressing gratitude will take it […]
1 May, 2017

The six pillars of gratitude: Pillar 1 – relatedness

In my last blog I identified six pillars of gratitude: relatedness, sincerity, empathy, self-regard, integrity and humility. Each of these is important to practise if we are to express deep gratitude. Our attempts to consciously practise gratitude also illuminate where these pillars are strong and where they need our attention. The pillar of relatedness may be neglected because it can often be seen as a given in our gratitude journey. We express gratitude because we feel an inherent connection to another. However, much of the way in which gratitude has been discussed – both in contemporary research and popular texts […]