Resilience: Not Just a Buzz Word

This morning was a blessing. After a most restful sleep, I watched the Saskatchewan sun coming up at 5:30 a.m., and I have been counting, and feeling, really feeling, all the blessings in my life. Gratitude for my family, nature, good veggies, friends, a peaceful country and so much more….

I enjoy starting my day with gratitude, sometimes it just surfaces and other times it is an intentional practice. And I appreciate the growing body of research telling me the potential this practice can have on my well being, on building resilience.

Resilience Wanted Resources Found

Resilience is a bit of a buzz word these days. Who doesn’t want to be a resilient leader or parent, or to strengthen their resilience?  I recently attended a session on this theme at Betty-AnnWomentorship Program in Saskatoon coordinated by Edwards School of Business. Local speakers Pat Katz and Penney Murphy each shared a story of difficult times they had experienced, along with what they have found helpful to strengthen their resilience muscles. Pat talked about the importance of pausing for renewal, taking a break, especially when we think we can’t take that time. Penny focused on watching our self-talk, and the influence self-talk has on our feelings, behaviors and well being. She shared some practices, such as guided visualization, than can help calm the nervous system, so we can be more attentive to our self talk and choose to shift away from the inner critic.

A Powerful Resource

In Sheryl Sandberg’s most recent book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Finding Resilience and Finding Joy, co authored with psychologist Adam Grant, she shares what helped her get through the unimaginable loss of her husband. Sandberg and Grant’s stories, research and practical suggestions struck a chord with me and I found myself wishing I had been exposed to some of their thinking during my own very difficult times with illness, deaths, accident, and divorce and when my friends and families where going through similar traumatic or difficult experiences.

The book is full of suggestions that are helpful any time the going gets tough. One of many ideas that is staying with me is ‘don’t let grief be an elephant in the room’. Finding ways to talk about and share what we are experiencing, or asking others how they are doing today when we know they are suffering, is one of the most supportive actions we can take. Yet we avoid such conversations because we don’t know what to say or do, or it doesn’t seem to be appropriate in our workplaces.

Sandberg’s broader intention in writing the book, and in the recently launched companion website OptionB.Org, an online community to help people build resilience in the face of adversity, is to “….help people find the gratitude for life, the appreciation, the meaning, the relationships even before the trauma and maybe without the trauma.” (Interview with Anna Marie Tremonti on CBC’s The Current.)

Give it a Try

May a gratitude practice, taking time for renewal, shifts in self talk and the stories and support in Option B help you in a day to day way. We never know when a new practice may take hold and transform us.

We’d love to hear your stories. Contact us at

Sources for Gratitude Practice

In Praise of Gratitude at Harvard Health

Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier: Harvard Health

The work of Robert Emmons on the Science of Gratitude

Other Posts We’ve Written on this Topic

Paths to Resilience: Keeping Goals & Appreciating Connections

Three Tips for Becoming a Resilient Leader

Oops! I Forgot to Look After Myself

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