The secret of life is what you focus on.  It is amazing how many outcomes in a person’s life are affected by where they direct their attention.  In every event we encounter we can direct our attention to:


  • Emotions or outcomes
  • Past or future
  • Negativity or positivity
  • Frustrations or blessings

Just to mention a few.  Research into resilience shows that in each of the options above you are much more likely to be happy and stress resistant if you take the second option.

Let’s look at the case of frustrations versus blessings.  Emmons and McCullough (2003) split participants in their study into three groups and asked one group to record their frustrations day by day, the second to record neutral events and the third to record events that they were grateful for.

They then measured a range of wellbeing measures and found that the group which recorded their blessings did markedly better on measures of happiness as well as some other important outcomes.  It seems, for instance, that grateful people have better interpersonal relationships and there may even be health benefits from practising conscious gratitude. Like anything, the more you do it the better you will become.

So, are you focussing enough on the good things which happen to you?  Try keeping a gratitude journal.  If you do you may well find that you have more to be grateful for as you get the benefits of the exercise.

If you would like to learn more about the skills of resilience join us for our Resilience Masterclass, where we will review the latest research on the topic and share many practical techniques which work for individuals or groups.

Andrew Marty
Managing Director


Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of personality and social psychology84(2), 377.

Andrew Marty