Building Gratitude and Awareness with the FISH! Philosophy

Published On: June 14, 2023Categories: Blog

We all know what it’s like to go around the Thanksgiving table and share what we’re thankful for, but that shouldn’t only happen one day a year–the most effective people who are the most in-tune with the emotions and needs of themselves and others are often those who express gratitude as a daily practice within their lives.

This may sound a little “woo”-ey, but there’s real science to it: Even the Mayo Clinic acknowledges the link between regularly expressing gratitude and improved moods, lessened mental health symptoms, better sleep, and more.

But practicing gratitude isn’t always easy. It requires awareness of your surroundings, both your physical and social external surroundings but also your internal emotional surroundings. Practicing awareness and gratitude are often intertwined, and the better you are at one, the better you can be at the other. But how can we use the FISH! Philosophy to practice both these skills and improve our lives at work and at home?

Be There to build mindfulness and awareness

Be There isn’t just a skill about showing up for others–although that’s a huge part of it, too. It’s about showing up for yourself. To Be There is fundamentally to practice mindfulness and awareness of the present situation, whether it’s actively listening to a coworker share their struggles and accomplishments or actively listening to your own mind process a difficult interaction or a stressful upcoming responsibility.

Practicing mindfulness isn’t always easy, but it is relatively simple: take time to just sit and center yourself. That can mean eating lunch out on a park bench with your phone put away, just taking in nature around you. It could mean setting a 5-minute timer between work tasks to briefly meditate. Or, it could be minimizing distractions during a meeting so you can give your team members your fullest attention.

By Being There and practicing mindfulness, you’ll often help yourself build a mindset of gratitude. You’ll find more things to be grateful for, find it easier to practice that gratitude, and be able to express it more clearly in the moment when you’re free from a wandering mind.

Choose Your Attitude to practice gratitude 

When we talk about practicing gratitude, we really do mean that–it’s practice. That means it doesn’t just happen, but rather it takes intentional work to turn a one-time action into a neurologically reinforced habit.

Choose Your Attitude is never the easiest skill in the FISH! Philosophy, because it requires us to be acutely aware and mindful of our emotional reactions to any given situation, then requires us to take that awareness and turn it into action, over and over.

But by practicing Choose Your Attitude every day, you can intentionally choose to approach life from a position of gratitude–being thankful for the skills and successes you have, thankful for the struggles you’ve managed to avoid, and thankful for the support and help of those around you. And once this attitude has become ingrained in your emotional responses, you’ll find yourself working more effectively, burning out less, and living a happier and healthier life.

Make Their Day to encourage others to do the same

Now, if only we could get other people to learn that lesson too, right? We’re not perfectly zen monks; we know that other people can be annoying, inconsiderate, or ineffective in the way they approach things–and the nature of life means we just have to interact with them whether we want to or not.

Fortunately, the Golden Rule you were taught in Kindergarten has some real truth to it: if we treat others the way we want to be treated, they’re more likely to respond accordingly. When you go out of your way to Make Their Day with affirmations, compliments, thoughtful gestures, or even just friendly conversation, those people who’ve been getting on your nerves will often (slowly but surely) begin to respond with the same type of gratitude towards you that you work so hard to practice. And that just makes everything easier, doesn’t it?

Play with new ideas to break our mental ruts

So often, when we’re missing gratitude in our daily lives it’s because we’ve fallen into an emotional routine–every time something annoying (or even positive!) happens, we’ve conditioned ourselves to think, react, and express our feelings in the same way.

For example, when that coworker cancels a last-minute meeting, we may routinely take that annoyance and ruminate on it, spiraling until a minor issue becomes a major annoyed mood state. But what if instead of simply reacting to our initial emotions, we brainstormed all the ways we could respond instead?

We so often talk about Play as a way to creatively problem solve in the workplace, but there’s no reason we can’t use that same concept to creatively problem solve our own emotional responses as well, using this judgment-free thought zone to practice awareness of our emotions, break from our emotional routines, and condition ourselves to Choose an Attitude of gratitude.

Ideas to Reflect On:

  • How often do you actively practice gratitude? How can you find one time per day to reflect on what you’re grateful for?
  • Identify where in your daily routine you can fit in a mindfulness activity–even if it’s just 5 minutes.
  • Think about a coworker or work situation that irritates you. How might choosing an attitude of gratitude help avoid that irritation?

Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and avoid the symptoms of impending burnout. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

Want to Implement FISH! in your organization?

Are you a leader?  Do you train others?  Do you want others to be leaders?

Charthouse Learning, the creator of the world-famous, award-winning, FISH! film is offering an in-person, 2-day workshop, interactive Train-the-Trainer lead by our Senior Trainer.

During our time together you’ll learn how to:

  • Share the motivation and foundation of FISH!
  • Introduce the FISH! film with the four practices.
  • Present the invitation to apply the practices in everyday interaction with others.
  • Build a sustainability and reinforcement program to transform the culture.
  • Pick up tips from other FISH! Philosophers and develop a strategy to embed the practices into the DNA of your culture.
  • Create an energized organization that is the “first choice” for employees, faculty, staff, leaders, and customers.

Plus, you will learn how to create a workplace where people choose to “be and bring” their best self everywhere, every day.

At the FISH! Train the Trainer you will:

  • Dive Deep: Discover The FISH! Philosophy – full of “A-ha!” takeaways and perspective-shifting realizations.
  • Transform: Make the four FISH! practices – Play, Be There, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude – an essential part of your professional and personal skill set.
  • Discover: Learn practical ways to apply the FISH! practices to improve teamwork, service, leadership, retention and performance.
  • Develop: Brainstorm strategies to embed The FISH! Philosophy into the DNA of your culture, strengthening your mission, vision and values.
  • Collaborate: Learn and laugh with like-minded folks from across the globe.

Click Here for More FISH! Train the Trainer Information

FISH! Executive Briefing

You have probably heard about the Culture Shift in the news. Organizations are struggling to find talent, employee morale is low, retention is a common goal and customers are dissatisfied with buying experiences.

These are all symptoms of an underlying challenge leadership is faced with every day, regardless of the industry. You can look for temporary relief or an overall, long-term cure.

Join us for a 60-minute webinar on the world-famous, award-winning FISH! practices.

Click Here for More FISH! Executive Briefing Information


Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

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