From Mindset to Meaning – Foundations of Logopreneurship

Entrepreneurs who are resilient have a strong mindset. Entrepreneurs who stay resilient have a strong sense of meaning.

They are called logopreneurs.

What keeps them strong and successful is their deep sense and experience of meaning as well as the importance of values for their business and everyday life. They build their life on personal values. This also keeps them healthy, physically and mentally.

In leading their life freely and responsibly, and by consciously dealing with their failures and limitations, logopreneurs not only develop their business, but become entrepreneurs of their future. They shape the future today.

Logopreneurship is the conscious process of responsibly leading one‘s business and/or everyday life based on values and the will for meaning, even and especially in the face of risks and challenges.

From mindset to meaning – Foundations

For years, the ability to become an entrepreneur was thought to be linked to individual personality traits that people simply have (or don’t have). But it’s more likely to be linked to a particular way of thinking. There is lots of research about what constitutes such an entrepreneurial mindset. While such a cognitive perspective can help you on your way to becoming an entrepreneur, it’s not sufficient to keep you going and stay determined. What you really need to develop, build and run your own business is a strong motivation. Guess what!

The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow (you may know him from his pyramid of needs) and the psychiatrist Viktor Frankl agreed on the following: meaning is the strongest motivation in life. 

The good news? Frankl, psychiatrist and also the founder of logotherapy (meaning-centered psychotherapy), said that we can always find meaning in life. The “bad” news? We are responsible for it. It’s up to us to answer life’s questions, not the other way round. It is your decision to fulfill this responsibility.

It is important to note that meaning can never be “given” or “provided” by someone else. Yet, an entrepreneur can, for example, create an environment where he supports his employees to find meaning themselves.

Following your personal sense of meaning, you’re on the best way to becoming a logopreneur. Still, the question remains: how do we find meaning in life, especially in difficult times?

The value of (your) values

According to Frankl, values are opportunities to realize meaning. There are even different categories of values, hence, different potential sources of meaning: creative (doing or creating something meaningful), experiential (experiencing something or someone as meaningful), and attitudinal values ((re-) discovering a meaningful attitude towards something, they may not be able to change).

Following this line of thought, entrepreneurs themselves can experience meaning in three ways according to the different types of values:

  • First, by realizing creative values, e.g. by providing a service, innovating a product, or managing a project. Sustainability criteria can form the basis for this.
  • Second, by realizing experiential values, such as conversations with a colleague, enjoying lunch break with the whole team or receiving support in a difficult situation. It can also be a successful, high-results meeting.
  • Thirdly, by (re)discovering a meaningful attitude towards something that they may not be able to change, e.g. by accepting economic instability or tensions in society (realizing attitudinal values) or from framework conditions that they cannot change themselves.

Becoming and staying resilient

In general, it is important that we don’t focus on one value only. As a logopreneur you are able to identify and actively integrate different sources of value in your business and life. It is not recommended to base your motivation on only one source of meaning (aka value), e.g. the great team spirit, the innovative character or the product.

Rather, logopreneurs integrate quite different sources of meaning, such as the product’s contribution to society, the feeling of solidarity within the team, or the resilience to remain determined even in times of uncertainty.

Dreams vs. possibilities

While this all sounds great (possibly), but you, the reader, may be wondering what to do when you are constrained by external conditions, such as volatile markets or regulatory requirements. How do you fulfill your responsibility to realize values and experience meaning when there are so many constraints? The key is to identify and act within your areas of freedom.

This means first of all gaining clarity about those aspects and areas of your life where you can actually make a difference, however big or small. Once identified, consider what the next step is that you can take, given your time, financial and personal resources. Secondly, it’s important to identify the aspects that you can’t change (any more), even though they may still bother you. Frankl reminded us that we can’t always change the things around us, but we always have the freedom to change our attitude to the situation.

As a logopreneur, you distinguish between the realm of freedom (change is possible) and the realm of fate (change is not possible – no more).

Wherever change is possible, it’s up to you to make a conscious decision and take the necessary steps to move in the direction you want. It helps to remember that you are human, which means that you have both the freedom of will and the responsibility to act on it.

Shifting perspectives from “why?” to “what for?”

Where change is (no longer) possible, you move into acceptance and train to change perspectives. It can be helpful to ask „what for?“ instead of „why?“. While the question „why?“ often keeps us stuck in the past and puts us in a rather passive position, the question „what for?“ opens up a perspective for the future. As a logopreneur, you can ask yourself „What does this challenge me to do now?“ and use the answers as a way forward, as an active creator of your business (and life).

In this way, you are not only equipped with a strong sense of responsibility, but you also gain resilience in conditions that are often complex and uncertain.


The impact of an entrepreneurial mindset built on logotherapeutic principles yield results on different levels of the entrepreneur’s environment, not least because “[T]hose who demand performance must offer meaning” (Böckmann, 1984, title; own translation). It all comes back to leading yourself and therefore being able to lead others.

On a personal level, a logopreneur whose mindset is rooted in values and meaning is better equipped regarding setbacks, disappointments or economic downsides than entrepreneurs without this grounding. Academic results further indicate that a sense of purpose in life is also beneficial to overall health. It is possible to find meaning in creative endeavors, special experiences and even in suffering, which in turn leads to greater resilience over time.

Looking at a logopreneur’s leadership qualities, he is able to offer spaces for personal discovery of meaning to his employees, while successfully contributing to the business. Research shows that leaders can actually support their employees’ positive work experience and personal well-being in helping them connect with a bigger purpose.

On a systemic level, this philosophical, even psychohygienic, view influences humanity. Each individual is responsible for his or her own attitudes and actions. Not only the immediate environment of the individual, but also broader relationships of a logopreneur are of sustainable importance.

In a nutshell

  1. In addition to having a strong entrepreneurial mindset, logopreneurs build their business and their lives on a deep sense of meaning, a trust in meaning. This is the strongest motivation.

  2. Values serve as sources of meaning, and a logopreneur can realise different values through their business, making them particularly resilient in turbulent times.

  3. The ability to distinguish realistic possibilities from impossible dreams and the responsibility to take action is what characterises a logopreneur.

  4. The question „what for?“ (not „why?“) is what guides the logopreneur through daily life and critical phases, thereby actively creating his future.

  5. When the logopreneur applies the core principles of logotherapy to his business and his life, the effects will be felt on several levels, namely personal, social, systemic.


© Dr. Nina Bürklin, 2023.

Ikigai and Logotherapy – Dots to be Connected

Imagine two biographies at the same time, one in Europe, the other in Japan. Both life stories are characterized by severe hardships, deep suffering, reflections on sadness, hope and grief. Two people reflecting on what makes life worth living, what gives life meaning. One paving the way for meaning-centered psychotherapy through his own experiences (Viktor Frankl), the other one developing and wholeheartedly living the concept of Ikigai (Mieko Kamiya). But their paths never crossed. So the question comes up.

What if Mieko Kamiya and Viktor Frankl had met?

They might have pondered how to find meaning in the face of political instability, increasing mental health problems in society, and the loss of meaning for many individuals. They might have sat down to a rich Viennese melange or even enjoyed a traditional tea ceremony (just to fulfill all the stereotypes here). As the founders of Logotherapy (Viktor Frankl) and Ikigai psychology (Mieko Kamiya) might have also shared their sources of what makes their lives worth living, despite and perhaps because of all the suffering. Possibly, they might have discussed their approaches to finding meaning in life and how they relate to each other.

All this may have happened, but we can’t know. We can, however, explore connections that were on the verge of being discovered during their lifetimes.

On suffering – One lifetime, many experiences

Given their personal experiences and observations of great suffering, Viktor Frankl and Mieko Kamiya both pondered questions such as

  • What gives people hope in the face of adversity?
  • What do people need to feel less like victims and more like active creators of their lives?
  • How can we overcome periods of deep sadness and grief?

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible. – Viktor Frankl

Both of them have thought, written and spoken a great deal about suffering. It seems surprising how much their attitude towards, application and integration of suffering in life resembles their approach to living life.

Attitude: Viktor Frankl and Mieko Kamiya saw suffering as part of life – and nevertheless (or precisely because of this) life can be particularly worth living.

Application: Both were challenged to „apply“ their approaches to their own lives when they experienced severe hardship.

Integration: Both have experienced severe suffering in their own lives and have written a lot about it; it was clear to them that more is needed than just drugs.

Mieko Kamiya – A dedication to writing after medicine, marriage and motherhood

Mieko Kamiya, the founder of Ikigai psychology, was born in 1914 in Okayama, Japan. She had been exposed to different cultures due to her family’s move to Switzerland in her childhood, whereafter she was able to speak Germany and English fluently. She long struggled to find meaning after the loss of the love of her life in her early twenties. She was highly educated in classical literature and languages (including Italian, German, French and Greek), amongst them Marcus Aurelius’s book which she translated into Japanese later.

Already as a college student she happened to visit a sanatorium where she was deeply impressed with leprosy patients there. She felt that she should someday work for them, but it would take a few years still. She later started to study medicine in the US, but returned to Japan in the fear of the coming war where she became a medical doctor. Early on, she treated leprosy patients and her interest in psychiatry grew early on.

According to the dictionary, ikigai means „strength needed to live in this world, happiness, being alive, usefulness, effectiveness“. When we try to translate it into English, German, French, etc., there seems to be no other way to define it other than „worth living“ or „value or meaning of life. – Mieko Kamiya

Only after she had married and gave birth to two children, she dedicated her life to writing, her personal Ikigai. Thereby she fulfilled the prediction of her close friend who said: “I predict your future. You’ll be an author after you graduate from three M [Medicine, Marriage and Motherhood]”. Her most famous book is “On the Meaning of Life” (Japanese: Ikigai Ni Tsuite), but has never been translated, while excerpts of her diaries can be found in her biography “A woman with demons”. Mieko Kamiya died in 1979 from heart disease at age 65.

The meaning of meaning – Ikigai-kan

Both of their lives overlapped greatly in time and location. Yet, there is no account that states their meeting at some point. All we know for a start is that Kamiya quoted Frankl when writing about Ikigai-kan, the feeling of Ikigai.

„There are two ways to use the word „ikigai.“ It can refer to the source or object of life’s value, as in „This child is my ikigai,“ or it can refer to the mental state of feeling ikigai. The latter is what Frankl calls the “meaning of meaning.“ I will call it „Ikigai-Kan“ to distinguish it from the former „Ikigai“ itself“, said Mieko Kamiya

Viktor Frankl – Perspectives from the deepest valley and highest mountains

Viktor Frankl, the founder of Logotherapy & Existential Analysis, was born in Vienna in 1905. A neurologist and psychiatrist, he began to explore the issues of emptiness and meaninglessness at the age of 15, when he was confronted with the high rate of youth suicide in his community. He had already written the foundations of what would become known as logotherapy and existential analysis before he was sent to four concentration camps during the Second World War. Of course, he couldn’t take anything with him, so he lost all his manuscripts. Worse still, he lost his wife, parents and close friends in the war.

If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering. – Viktor Frankl

It is said that it took him only nine days to write down all the basic concepts. His book “Man’s Search for Meaning” became one of the best-selling books of all time. Less well known is that he was a great fan of mountaineering, despite his fear of heights. After losing his first wife, he remarried and took flying lessons late in life. Frankl obtained his solo pilot’s license at the age of 68. After further developing Logotherapy & Existential Analysis, he worked with many patients and taught his experience all over the world, not least in the United States and Japan. Viktor Frankl died in 1997 in Vienna.

Connections between Ikigai and Logotherapy

  1. Meaning and Ikigai are not the one big thing in life; rather, they both describe things, people, moments that make life worth living.

A person who is most likely to feel a sense of ikigai is convinced of their need to live, is clearly aware of their goal of „self-preservation,“ and is fully committed to that goal. In other words, a person who has a personal mission in his or her life that he or she proactively pursues experiences Ikigai at the highest level. – Mieko Kamiya, “Ikigai ni Tsuite”

Because both approaches – Ikigai and Logotherapy – consider that what’s worth living for is present in everyday life, in the small things (and sometimes the big things), we are able to act and create. In this way we can promote change, growth and response-ability.

  1. Meaning and Ikigai are both highly individual and bound to the unique situation; there is not the one rule of what is meaningful to us.

Every day, every hour, therefore, waits with a new meaning, and for each person there is another meaning. Thus, there is a meaning for that one, and for each one there is a particular meaning. – Viktor Frankl

Since ikigai and meaning are individual and situation-specific, we can be hopeful. How rich is our life when every moment gives us a new opportunity to decide who we want to have been in the future?

  1. There are many different sources of meaning and Ikigai in our life, not only one.

According to Logotherapy & Existential Analysis, values are opportunities to realize meaning. There are three categories of values in Logotherapy: creative, experiential and attitudinal values. Following Mieko Kamiya’s concept of Ikigai, there are seven dimensions: life satisfaction, growth & change, good future, resonance, freedom, self-realization, meaning & values.

Particularly interesting is that both approaches to life consider freedom to be a foundation for meaning in life. On the one hand side, this related to individual choices: “[A] person who has a personal mission in his or her life that he or she proactively pursues experiences Ikigai at the highest level.” – Mieko Kamiya

On the other hand, freedom always comes with responsibility. They are two sides of the same coin – that’s at the core of what makes us human. Hence, every moment gives us (individually) a new opportunity to decide who we want to have been one day.

Ikigai & Logotherapy – A contemporary conclusion

While there are many connections between Ikigai and Logotherapy yet to be explored, we can connect three dots today. First, Viktor Frankl and Mieko Kamiya saw suffering simply as part of life (not as a catastrophic exception to everyday life). As human beings, however, we can discover what’s worth living for us. Second, Ikigai-kan and meaning is found in doing and being (not in thinking and talking about it) – and it’s always unique and special. Third, it’s our freedom to make a choice, every single moment. While we can’t always change or influence our environment, we always have the freedom to change our attitude towards it.


© Dr. Nina Bürklin, 2023.

10 Principles for a Good Lifestyle

These principles are pretty straightforward, especially principle #10. You’ll be surprised!

  1. A good lifestyle is innovative

The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is constantly offering new starting points for sustainable design to enhance people’s well-being. But an innovative lifestyle is always created in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

  1. A good lifestyle empowers people

We develop a lifestyle to be applied on a daily basis. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. A good lifestyle enables people to use their potential whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

  1. A good lifestyle is beautiful

The aesthetic quality of a lifestyle is integral to its usefulness because a lifestyle that we pursue on a daily basis affects our environment and well-being. But only a well-executed lifestyle can be beautiful.

  1. A good lifestyle makes values tangible

It clarifies the meaning of everyday life. Better still, it can make the values speak for themselves. At best, the possibilities to realize meaning reveal themselves.

  1. A good lifestyle is unobtrusive

Lifestyles fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative displays nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the person’s self-expression.

  1. A good lifestyle is honest

It does not make a person appear more innovative, efficient, creative than she really is. It does not attempt to manipulate humans by making promises that cannot be kept.

  1. A good lifestyle is constant

It avoids current trends and is geared to our actual needs. Unlike short-lived fashion hypes, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

  1. A good lifestyle is responsible down to the last detail

Nothing must be arbitrary or left to indifference. Awareness and mindfulness in shaping our life are ultimately an expression of respect for ourselves and others.

  1. A good lifestyle is environmentally-friendly

Our lifestyle makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the areas it affects.

  1. A good lifestyle is as little style as possible

Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and everyday life is not burdened with non-essentials.

Back to purity, back to simplicity.



Inspired by „10 Principles for good design“ by Dieter Rams.

© Dr. Nina Bürklin, 2023.

Why Online Events Suck – And Can Be Full of Magic

Have you ever been challenged to set up an online event? Here are eight learnings from my experience of organizing an online summer school for over 100 people from 27 countries

We’ve all experienced it: lengthy online events without a spark of inspiration, but strained eyes. Being connected by tech, but not by heart.

Actually, we all know it: online events suck. And in the near future, they will most probably not substitute offline meetings with personal connections.

How dare we reconsidered – and changed perspectives

Yet, there is a this small, almost tiny opportunity: if we dare to change perspectives and reconsider how values are brought into action, online events bare huge potential to be full of magic.

I’m only confident to say this because I experienced it myself in my role as Communications Manager at Mind & Life Europe. Challenged by the current Covid-19 situation, the team took the decision in late spring to move online with one of our most important events: our summer school usually taking place over one week time. With more than one hundred people. In an easy-going atmosphere. In summer at a beautiful lake. Connecting scientists, contemplatives and young scholars through talks and shared experiences. Now online?

‘Crazy sh*t!’ some would say, ‘challenge accepted’ we said.

To be honest, in the beginning, we had no clue how to transform our so called “European Summer Research Institute” (ESRI) into an online event: a  happening characterized by deep human connections (meeting in person), true insights through experiences (e.g. yoga and meditation) and informal breaks in-between (spaces to meet-like minded people in yet another setting).

Be picky. And connect before you connect.

To make a long story short: what follows are eight of my personal learnings from a five-day online event truly connecting people all over the world. From India to Chile, from Denmark to Australia and lots of countries in-between.

  1. An online event is triple the work – and triple the connection.

It’s a given fact: the more easy-going an online event looks like, the more work it is. And those who state that “online events are so easy to organize” have simply not had the chance to do so themselves. For moderation alone, one (even skilled and experienced) person is not enough. It might take up to three persons to take care of questions, timing, communication, etc. to make something a panel discussion look smooth. The good news is: by doing all this extra work, you will get closer to your team members. People will grow more and more into their roles. Communication will be easier because you know the people better. Work flows become smoother because you actually do speak and meet more often (online).

For us, this meant that we could rely on each other even more so. It felt like a soccer team that had practiced different moves over and over again – and once the game started, there simply was a flow.

During our last check-out after the event was over, one team member actually said:“This feels like a family” – although some of us have never met in person.

  1. Connect before you connect.

Invite participants of the event to connect with you beforehand, so they can get used to the virtual environment you have built. We all live in a digital age, but we are all different regarding our experience with and interest in new technologies. Offer attendees a “way-in” and take them by the hand for the first steps. They will be able to walk steadily once the actual event begins.

In our case, we invited participants to an ‘onboarding call’ four days before the summer school officially started. This allowed us to informally welcome them and take them on a virtual tour through the online environment we had created including Zoom, our event website and Slack. Nowadays, there are so many tools available that we can’t be experts in all of them. But all of us can learn and by showing and experiencing them first-hand (e.g. how to raise hands in Zoom or how to comment in Slack), participants felt confident in using them once the event had started.

  1. It takes a team.

If you want to organize an online event and still have a healthy back, a bit of sleep and a healthy mind at the end of it, please don’t start alone. That’s it.

We actually had a Planning Committee (six people), a Hosting Team (two people), and two staff members (including myself) dedicated to transform this challenge into magic. For us, it really helped to have clear responsibilities. Knowing who would reach out to speakers, who would take care of participants’ applications and who’s in for communications (just to name a few things) helped us get organized – and sometimes, these roles had to be refined as the event developed. During the event, daily check-ins in the morning and check-outs after the day had been closed helped to stay up-to-date and tweak things if needed. Moreover, these short meetings opened a space to check in on a personal level, thereby taking care of ourselves.

  1. Dare to be picky.

Be clear about whom you would like to attend your online event – be it speakers, participants or volunteers – and whether these people share your organizations’ values. Because after all, it’s the whole community that creates magic (or not) with their personalities, not the organizers themselves.

For our five-day event, people from all over the world had applied – and were committed to engage online. Attendees from Mexico would literally wake up in the middle of the night to participate in sessions scheduled in European times. Others from France and Italy endured hours of daily screen time despite more than 30°C in their personal spaces. Many participants took the time to share personal introduction videos in our ‘community’ Slack channel.

As organizers, we could open the spaces for all of that, but in the end, it was the dedicated community who filled it with inspiration, openness and curiosity.

  1. Use screen time wisely.

No matter how grateful we can be for our new technologies – at the end of the day, it’s mostly draining to use them. This makes the time actually spent in front of an online event even more precious – your time as well as the other attendees’. Reconsider what parts of the event really need to be live, e.g. open discussions or panels, and what parts could be pre-recorded or presented in a different way (e.g. articles or online forums).

Since our summer school consists of rather content-loaded parts, interactive panels and experiential parts, we decided to ask the speakers for pre-recordings of their talks. These were made available to the participants a few days before the start of the online event, so that it was up to them where, when and how to watch them. On the other hand, it was important to us that interactive sessions like panels and Q&A sessions were done in real-time, so that participants could be actively included. Also, it felt right to offer the experiential sessions like meditation, Qi Gong, and Yoga, as live sessions, so that all attendees got a sense of doing it together – believe it or not, many people did not even turn away from the screen once they started meditating with closed eyes. It seemed that they had been longing for and finding a community they truly wanted to share this experience with.

  1. Engage everyone.

One downside of online events is that active participation of attendees is a lot more difficult to achieve than during onsite events. Yet, it’s exactly those moments of interaction and active participation that can turn an exhausting online session into an exciting experience.

Over the course of our five-day event, we regularly included small exercises where all attendees were asked for their perspective. One way was to use modern tools such as interactive word clouds, that enable everyone to enter one word via a link which then builds up to a word cloud in real-time. It was a fun way to ask for perspectives, but also to make visible how each participant could influence the overall picture. Another way to engage attendees was to formulate a question about a current emotion or a symbol that matters to them in a given context and ask them to write or draw it on paper. Afterwards, participants were asked to hold their own sheet of paper into the camera. What resulted was a kaleidoscope of shared feelings. A plus for both of these exercises: the result can be easily kept through a screenshot and serves as a great memory and/or communication tool for the online event.

  1. There’s always time for a minute of silence.

While our event was characterized by the guidance of contemplatives, this learning appeals to all online events (and offline events, too, for that matter). As in the offline world, we can experience all sorts of reactions during and event. People get really tired or discussions heat up. Some are overwhelmed, while others are distracted.

In any case, one minute of silence can make all the difference: it allowed us regularly to calm down for a moment, take a deep breath, and set our focus anew. During our online event, we had the privilege of very experienced contemplatives with different backgrounds who guided us – sometimes with a poem or a few spoken words, sometimes with the sound of a bell only. Yet, every one of us can initiate a minute every now and then.

  1. Choose humor over annoyance.

We are all humans and we can all learn so much every day. Mistakes happen, smaller ones and bigger ones. While we can’t change that, we can change how we react to that. Choosing humor over annoyance can make a huge difference and loosen up the situation during an online event. Laughing about how all of us (including myself) are trying out and getting used to this new virtual environment also feels better than laughing at someone who didn’t manage to share his screen right away.

Being open to help from others (‘Nina, we only see a black screen, not a beautiful word cloud’) can transform a formal meeting into a joint act of co-creation.

While I must admit that lots of unexpected things happened, not all of them pleasant, I must also say that it was the patience, openness and support of participants that turned these into magical moments.

Taking the opportunity to transform ‘not having performed’ into ‘developing our way together’ left a feeling of connection that stuck with all of us.

I’m sure that there is so much more that can be learned from transforming offline events into deep online experiences – remembering that it can never substitute the depth of personal connection offsite.

Yet, my wish was to make a start and open a new perspective that allows online events turn into opportunities. And let magic emerge from there.

What have you learned so far?

Deep Dive: Gratitude

Most of us have heard that gratitude is beneficial to our health and wellbeing. But how do you actually practice gratitude in everyday life? And what insights do scientific studies offer?

Before we get started, what do we actually mean by gratitude?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, gratitude (grat·​i·​tude | \ ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd \) means „the state of being grateful; thankfulness„.

In their book, Tayyab Rashid and Martin Seligman define gratitude as „an awareness of and thankfulness for the good things in one’s life. If gratitude is one of your top strengths, you take time to express thanks and contemplate all that you have been given in life“ (2019, p. 173).

Scientific research goes one step further and include the notion of habit and even coping response when they talk about gratitude as “an emotion, an attitude, a moral virtue, a habit, a personality trait, or a coping response” (Emmons & McCullough, 2003, p. 377).

What can science teach us about gratitude?

  • Resilience and gratitude. Researchers in the US looked at gratitude in first year undergraduate students beginning University (Wood, Maltby and Gillett and colleagues as cited in Wood et al., 2010). They found that students who were higher in gratitude were less stressed, less depressed and had higher perceived social support at the end of the first term. The study findings suggest that gratitude may enhance resilience in a period of life transition.
  • Pro-social behaviour and gratitude. Another study looked at pro-social behaviour and gratitude (Bartlett and DeSteno, 2006). The researchers found that a grateful individual was more likely to exert greater effort to help a benefactor (i.e. someone who has helped the individual in some way through a pro-social act) on a completely unrelated task – such as filling in a lengthy, boring survey – than ungrateful people.
  • Wellbeing and gratitude. McCullough, Emmons and Tsang (2002) conducted 4 studies looking at psychological domains and gratitude, namely pro-sociality, emotionality/wellbeing, and spirituality/religiousness. Their research showed that grateful individuals are more satisfied with life, experience more positive emotions, and experience less negative emotions such as depression, envy, and anxiety . Also, not surprisingly, more grateful people also tend to be more pro-socially oriented. They are more likely to be empathic, forgiving, helpful and supportive than those who are less grateful. They are less focused on attaining materialistic goals. Interesting enough, the results illustrate that those who show more gratefulness also tend to be more spiritually and religiously minded.
  • Psychological + physical wellbeing and gratitude: Research by Emmons & Stern (2013) indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting positive effects in an individual’s life. Clinical trials show that it can lower blood pressure, promote happiness and well-being, improve immune function, and stimulate acts of helpfulness, generosity, and cooperation. Moreover, gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression and anxiety.
  • Reference: the first three of the above studies and many more are included in the article by Heather Craig (see below).


The root of joyfulness is gratefulness… It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. – Brother David Steindl-Rast

How can we practice gratitude in our everyday life?

  1. Express thanks: practise to express thanks to everyone who has contributed to your achievements. It doesn’t matter how big or small their contribution might have been. This could be the bus driver you brought you to your workplace, a good friend who called to check in or the barista who made this amazing coffee.
  2. The shortest practice (introduced to me by Brother David-Steindl-Rast): Stop. Look. Go. Take a moment, find one thing you are grateful for, and go sharing it with others.
  3. Keep a gratitude journal: establish a daily practice in order to remind yourself of things in your life that you are grateful for. These could be special events, gifts, benefits or people. Try to go for depth over breadth because you will better remember those incidents. And don’t forget to be thankful for things that did not happen to you.

And if you want to dig even deeper, check out the following resources for gratitude:

Voices I needed to hear

Sometimes, it’s the quiet voices that we need to hear. Sometimes, we need to listen to the uncomfortable voices.

And then, there are voices that simply make you feel good.

Check out how these voices make you feel – to me it’s obvious that I needed to hear them to further grow.

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