Articles :: Healthy Aging

Now is the Perfect Time to be Grateful

Expressions of gratitude are often reserved for the holiday season. Thanksgiving seems to be the time of year when giving thanks just rolls right off the tongue. But, what if you changed your attitude toward gratitude and started practicing it every day?  

 

Research has linked many health benefits, both physically and mentally, to practicing gratitude. Being thankful can decrease your blood pressure, boost your immune system, reduce aches and pains, increase energy, and help develop deeper (and more meaningful) bonds with others.

 

When faced with adversity, Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, noted, “gratitude helps us see the big picture and not feel overwhelmed by the setbacks we’re facing in the moment.”

 

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  • Keep a journal. Don’t set a limit, write one brief reflection for which you’re thankful, or write many. Journaling is favored because it helps to change perceptions by shifting the thought process. Plus, you’ll sleep better. 
  • Create a collage/visual. Decorate a piece of paper or sturdy board with positive imagery. Fill the space with family photos, inspirational quotes and other things that make you feel grateful and appreciative. 
  • Write a letter. Is there someone that has made a positive difference in your life? A caregiver, volunteer, friend or family member? Reflect on significant moments you’ve shared, and let your gratefulness flow from your pen.  
  • Take a mindful walk. While taking a stroll, challenge yourself to notice something beautiful or that you haven’t seen before.
  • Acknowledge others. Smile more, be kind and look for others who are doing good things. Give recognition—a “thank you” can go a long way.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a remarkably challenging time for everyone—physically, mentally and emotionally. To alleviate your negative feelings during this unprecedented time, be mindful and actively look for reasons to be thankful to encourage positive thinking, provide a sense of purpose, and help you to focus on what matters.

 

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Editor’s Note: Lainey Goss, marketing director at Senior Commons at Powder Mill Independent Living, Personal Care and Memory Care, submitted this article.

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