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Gratitude conducts us unfailingly and unflinchingly to the latitude of love, which is, by all accounts of those who know about these things, the mover and shaker of the universe. It’s a great address.  We should all keep a home there. Why is developing our gratitude skill set so important?

Gratitude is refreshing

Focusing on what we are grateful for reframes and refreshes our attention to remember the beautiful, the good, the bountiful, the possible, and the extraordinary ordinary that we often overlook. The more we practice shifting to that latitude, the more available it becomes.

It expands

Neuroscientists have explored the human tendency toward a ‘negativity bias’, where because our brains prioritize survival, we tend to first perceive the potentially harmful, searching surroundings for what might go wrong, whether that be physical, emotional or existential threat. We’re very practiced at survival scanning, but that provides only a partial view of the terrain. Focusing on gratitude isn’t pasting a ‘smiley face’ over a bad situation or a genuinely difficult circumstance.  It invites a fuller, clearer picture of our daily realities, training us to expand our lens.

It connects

If you can feel gratitude, it will immediately lift you into awareness of your connection to all there is and to yourself. The negativity bias is so powerful that we must overcompensate in the other direction. We need a magnifying glass to scan for the good and earphones to amplify the whispering.

“The negative screams at you, but the positive only whispers.”

Said by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson of her work on positive emotions.

It generates

Gratitude and appreciation lead to generosity and open-heartedness toward our families, communities and the natural world, all of which benefit from our good will and protection. Taking the time to think about what we’re grateful for can pull us into a more creative frame of mind and sense of possibility. Gratitude brings more oxygen into the room. Breathe it in.

How do you get there? Below is an exercise that can transport us to the latitude of gratitude at any time.

“No drugs, nothing fancy, no exotic meditation technique needed. You begin to move from moments of gratitude to the trait of gratitude, moments of self-worth to the trait of self-worth, and this is a profoundly powerful practice.”

Dr. Rick Hanson, Neuropsychologist

All of us at Continuum are grateful for our connections with you! We wish you and your families a very happy season of gratitude.

Sallie Lee is a consultant with Continuum. She has served as a thinking partner, facilitator, coach, and strategist for a global client base.