Why Gratitude is Crucial to Performing at Your Best with Dr. Nicole Gabana

Especially in a challenging year like 2020, it can be tough to identify all the things you are grateful for. But the same adversity can also help set the stage for recognizing the good in your life and the support structures that have helped you along the way. This week, Dr. Nicole Gabana talks about the importance of gratitude and why it’s key to performance in both sports and everyday life. 

Gratitude has the power to positively impact our mental health and happiness, and it’s a skill that can be practiced daily. Gabana says sometimes people get stuck thinking that they have to feel a certain way — especially happy or grateful, or something else — in order to start gratitude practice. But that’s not the case. Spending a little time every evening writing a list of all the good things that happened during the day is enough to get you started. And then, by modeling gratitude for others, you can start to change the culture around you, just by changing yourself.

Key Moments You Don’t Want to Miss:

  1. A Tough Year How 2020 has presented both unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to recognizing what you’re grateful for
  2. Even Keel Why Dr. Nicole Gabana says consistency is key and learning to manage your emotions during the highs and lows is important
  3. The Full Picture How broadening your perspective can help you break free from being negativity-focused and foster a growth mindset
  4. Practice Makes Perfect Why you don’t have to feel a particular way in order to make a change to your behavior

What You’ll Learn:

  • Gratitude isn’t outcome dependent
  • It’s important to keep a balanced perspective
  • Overconfidence is just as detrimental as poor performance
  • Appreciate the present moment
  • Use actions to guide emotions


“It might be challenging to focus on the good and to feel grateful in the midst of all this stress and uncertainty and bad things that happen in our world. And at the same time, being in the midst of a global pandemic, it’s really forced people to slow down and look around at the other aspects of their life and say, how do I get through this time? Who do I have around to support me? What other things can I focus on now, that I appreciate, if I can’t have practice or if I can’t have competition? So, I think the opportunity is ample to identify the good things and be grateful, but it takes intentional practice.” -Dr. Nicole Gabana

“I think sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking we have to feel a certain emotion in order to identify what you feel grateful for, when sometimes the behavior — the habit — has to be established before our emotional state gradually starts to change.” -Dr. Nicole Gabana

“Gratitude practice is really about training your mind to be able to identify the good things, or the things that you can appreciate, even in the midst of a difficult situation. … Gratitude also keeps us humble during the successful moments. Not to say we shouldn’t celebrate them or we shouldn’t be proud of them, but it helps us to look around and say, how did I get there? What helped me get there? It keeps us in this grounded place.” -Dr. Nicole Gabana


  • You can find out more about Dr. Nicole Gabana and her work by following her on Twitter @DrNicoleGabana.

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Episode 239