Gratitude with Anna Phillips

Meyler Campbell & Peppermint Fish
14th June 2019

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Gratitude with Anna Phillips


We spoke to Faculty Member Anna Phillips about the benefits, the history, and the science of Gratitude.

About Anna Phillips

As coaches, we know we need to take care of our own well-being in order to best serve our clients. Recent research reveals the simple but powerful practice of Gratitude can help you improve your mindset, to benefit your professional and personal relationships. Find out how to apply this insight in your coaching practice.

This podcast features Anna Phillips. Anna has been at the heart of Meyler Campbell for almost 15 years. A leadership coach, resilience practitioner and certified mindfulness teacher, Anna works with clients to help them sustain their peak performance while achieving a greater sense of balance and well-being in their lives.

Show Notes:

How did you become interested in Gratitude? [01:30]

Anna reflects on the link between mindfulness and gratitude [02:10]
Gratitude is a strategic tool in the development of resilience and wellbeing [2:35]

When you talk about Gratitude, what exactly is it you mean? [02:50]

Gratitude defined as the recognition of a positive outcome from an external source [03:15]
Additional concepts of gratitude, for example a moral virtue or a coping response [04:00]
Concept of gratitude rooted in ancient wisdom [04:25]
Neuroscience of gratitude [04:35]

What’s your personal view on gratitude? [05:05]

Sonja Lyubomirski’s definition from 'The How of Happiness' [05:30]
Gratitude is a key indicator in the Global Happiness Report - why is it key to happiness? [06:35]
Gratitude boost happiness through the savouring of positive experience and bolsters self esteem [07:00]
Robert Emmons’ ARC model shows how cultivating gratitude can contribute to greater levels of happiness [08:10]
Experiments have shown a link between gratitude and sustained reduction in perceived stress and depression [09:40]
Links between gratitude practice and improved health indicators, such as cortisol levels and cardio-vascular activity [9:45]

How do you deal with any cynicism you encounter about gratitude? [10:40]

A key worry that gratitude leads to complacency has been disproved by evidence - it helps develop pro-social skills that are the opposite of passivity [11:10]
It’s not always easy to be grateful; it’s an active practice of ‘dialling up the positive’ which helps us become more resilient and stress-resistant [12:10]
Cultivating gratitude helps with being more collaborative at work and communicating well with a team [13:20]

Is there any evidence that gratitude differs across the generations? [14:50]

Generally, we become more grateful with age and greater life experience [15:15]
The ability to experience and express gratitude develops in childhood by around age 10 [16:45]

What can we do to understand gratitude better for ourselves and develop better personal practice? [17:15]

Gratitude as a two-stage cognitive process: affirmation and recognition [17:30]
It helps to write down what you’re grateful for - you can use an app to do this [18:00]
The largest boost in happiness comes from writing a letter of gratitude and delivering it [18:35]

Is gratitude journaling something you do, and how do you find it? [18:45]

Anna’s experience of a year of daily gratitude journaling [19:00]
The key to gratitude journaling is to keep it fresh and to really mean it [20:22]
Choose different times of day; different places; different points of focus for your gratitude [21:40]

As coaches, how can we build this understanding of gratitude into our professional practice with clients? [22:22]

Experience it for yourself first, then think about how receptive your client is likely to be [22:35]
Gratitude can help when clients are dealing with difficult relationships [23:27]
Dealing with change is another time when gratitude might prove helpful [23:50]
Strategies for developing better teamwork and collaboration, using authentic and timely gratitude [24:25]

Where can we find more information on gratitude? [26:30]

Anna lists further material, listed in the resources section



"Gratitude includes thankfulness for the kind acts of others, as well as a more general appreciation for the positive things in our lives" [03:25]

"Lyubomirski considers gratitude as a mega-strategy for achieving happiness" [06:50]

"A grateful outlook magnifies the good that we see in ourselves and in others and the world at large." [08:20]

"Grateful people are more stress-resistant; they show greater resilience; they bounce back from negative events quicker" [12:50]

"Cultivating gratitude helps engender pro-social behaviour that's vital for collaboration." [13:40]

"To develop the practice you simply need to reflect upon, and note, the things you're grateful for." [17:45]

"You can take it up a notch by expressing gratitude to others - taking the time to tell people you're grateful for what they have done for you." [18:10]

"It's good to link gratitude, as a strategic tool, with your client's specific goals." [22:55]

"It needs to be authentic and timely, but setting a challenge to thank somebody different each day over the course of a week helps with comments that, too often, people don't feel appreciated." [25:50]


If you want to learn more about gratitude, here are some resources for you to explore:


  • The Little Book Of Gratitude, Robert Emmons 2016
  • The How Of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky 2007
  • Nelson, S. K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (in press). Gratitude. In Friedman, H. S. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Mental Health. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.


Harvard Business Review Articles:

  • How To Cultivate Gratitude, Compassion And Pride On Your Team, David DeSteno, 2018
  • Stop Making Gratitude All About You, Heid Grant, 2016
  • How Gratitude Can Help Your Career, Peter Bregman, 2015
  • Foster A Culture Of Gratitude, ChristineM. Roirdan, 2013

TED Talks:

 Gratitude App:

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