As we enter 2022, we encourage seniors to practice gratitude. There are a multitude of benefits that result from doing so. These may include increasing mental wellness, strengthening relationships with peers, and improving memory.
According to a 2020 study, being grateful reduces depression and anxiety. It leads people to feel more positively towards the world, and be grateful for what they have. This reduction in anxiety and depression results in a physical wellness boost as well.
Reducing stress is a great way for your immune system to fight off illnesses more easily. By reducing negative thoughts and feelings, your immune system will become stronger and do a better job of protecting you.
Other aspects of physical health can be boosted as well, such as a reduction of the risks associated with heart failure. A 2017 study discusses how gratitude journaling can lead to better heart health.
Gratitude can lead a person to view their peers in a positive light. It will encourage the person to think about how the person has improved their overall quality of life, instead of focusing on their negative attributes.
This will allow them to feel socially connected to their peers. They will be more willing to walk up to a person and start a conversation.
Gratitude is all about remembering past experiences. If a senior practices going through memories, it is improving their brain’s ability to recall information. The more a senior does this, the more they are improving their overall brain health.
Being grateful is not just reminiscing on past memories; there are a variety of ways to practice gratitude.
Pick up a pen and paper, and write down as many things you are grateful for as you can. Aim to fill the entire page, or two!
You can time yourself as well. Give yourself 5 or 10 minutes, and try to write down as many things as you can. This does not need to be in list form: you can categorize the things you are grateful for. For example, what are you grateful for about your family? What are you grateful for about your home? What are you grateful for about nature? Be specific.
If you have a cork board, dry erase board, chalk board, or any board in general, you can add sticky notes or write on it. Add a new thing to be grateful for every day. Then, at the end of the week you can have a creative and colorful board on the wall, of everything you are grateful for.
Gratitude jar or bucket
Add a tiny piece of paper to your gratitude journal or bucket every day. At the end of the month, you can take out slips of paper and read them. Find out what you were grateful for the past month.
This does not need to be emptied out each month. You can create gratitude jars or buckets for each year. Start by making one for 2022 today!
Meditation or prayer
Practicing gratitude can make you feel spiritually connected. Sit in a quiet, comfortable location. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply and put on comforting music if you would like to. Think about everything you are grateful for.
Make a scrapbook or photo album
Collect photos of your family, friends, or past memories. Put all of the photos in a book and decorate the pages. This will be a great decoration for your home, and also a great way to practice gratitude in the future.
Call a loved one
Gratitude can be practiced with others as well. Give your loved ones a call and reminisce on memories with them. You can have a photo book next to you, as a reminder of certain memories with that person. Consider writing down your favorite memories with each person, because it is a way to keep track of memories with specific people. They will be great to look at later!
Our advisors at Senior Living Experts encourage you to practice gratitude today! Feel free to use any of our suggested techniques. Today is a great day to get started on your gratitude practice. Call us at 773-231-7212 or visit our website at www.seniorlivingexperts.com.