by Allison Aboud Holzer

LongitudesIn Positive Psychology circles and  discussions about happiness, the topic of gratitude is likely to come up in conversation. While scientists disagree about the ideal dosage and type of gratitude intervention, most agree that some degree of focus on gratitude increases well-being, hope, and positive emotions. Some argue for keeping a gratitude journal, writing 3 things down at the beginning of each day; others believe in writing about grateful things more extensively, but less frequently. Whatever the approach, my Bliss Tip #22 is to Longitude Your Gratitude, and here’s what I mean:

Geographically speaking, longitudes cross all seven continents; and any single longitude spans across hundreds of geographical regions, climates, and countries. Approach gratitude in a similarly global way, considering things you feel grateful for at a micro and macro level. For example, today I feel absolutely grateful for my sweet little Tibbie snoring next to me while I write; I also feel grateful for living in such a warm and inviting local community; and for the many people in our global community dedicated to reducing gas emissions.

Longitudes are spaced at regular intervals; in the same way, express gratitude regularly. Whatever dosage you choose (once a day, once a week, once a month), commit to it by marking in your calendar, Iphone or Facebook events calendar. Tweet your gratitude entries to the world, if that helps you stay committed! According to Harvard Professor  Tal Ben-Shahar (in his book Happier), “they key is, despite the repetition, to keep the emotions fresh; imagine what each item means to you as you write it down, and experience the feelings associated with it.”

Finally, the historical purpose of longitudes (and latitudes, for that matter!) was navigation; they helped lost people find themselves in the world. Whenever you feel lost, turn to gratitude to help you locate yourself and ground yourself within your community, the people you love most, and the things you care about most. Gratitude has the power to help remind us all of where we are and where we belong.

Now, if only I can locate the longitude of that gorgeous Italian Villa in Umbria I’ve been seeing in my dreams… gratitudine del’amore!

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