The Power of Gratitude: How It Positively Affects Caregivers and Seniors

April 22, 2022 | Senior Health
Close-up Of Gratitude Word With Pen On Notebook Over Wooden Desk-Power of gratitude

Gratitude. It is one of the most powerful emotions we can feel and one that impacts our lives and the lives of people around us. To live with gratitude is to experience the world in a more positive way, focusing on what we have rather than what we lack – celebrating the small everyday victories rather than lamenting the setbacks.

At Astral at Auburn, we practice gratitude in everything we do. From the first time we meet new visitors in our community to how our team of care and support specialists interact with our residents and everything in between, we are truly thankful to live and work in a community like ours.

Today, we are looking at the power of gratitude and how it can change lives for the better. We are also sharing helpful ways that you can increase gratitude in your life! 

The Power of Gratitude for Caregivers

The work of a caregiver is one of great responsibility and reward, but it can also present obstacles and challenges along the way. This is where having the right mindset is of the utmost importance. As the National Council on Aging states:

“When things are going well in our lives, it can be relatively easy to express gratitude. But what happens when things are not going so well? It’s at these moments when we need gratitude the most.

“By practicing gratitude over time, we can learn to notice and appreciate not only the positives, but also develop better attitudes about the negatives … the challenges, losses, and frustrations that we all face as we age. Adopting an attitude of gratitude means tackling the negative things and challenging ourselves to find ways to be grateful for them.”

The question is: how can we be thankful for the negative things that happen? One of the best ways to begin is by changing your perspective. Even changing the language that we use to describe something can alter how we imagine it. 

For example, instead of framing a situation as a “frustration,” you might think about it as a “challenge” meant to bring out your best qualities. If you grow impatient with someone you are caring for, you might instead focus on the best way you can relieve the frustration that they are probably feeling as well.

And in quiet moments when you reflect on your day, it is beneficial to remind yourself of why you became a caregiver and to list 1-2 things that you admire about the person for whom you are providing care. You can carry these thoughts with you the next time you are supporting them. See how it changes your mood and perspective.

The Power of Gratitude for Older Adults

When it comes to older adults, many people have talked and written about the concept of “aging gracefully.” At Astral at Auburn, we believe that moments of grace can be found every day – if you train yourself to look for them.

What do you first think about when you wake up in the morning? The way we start our morning can often influence the rest of our interactions throughout the day. It creates a mental framework through which we view the world.

  • Are you thankful to rise each morning? 
  • Are you grateful for the sunlight shining through the window? 
  • If you are receiving support or assistance, how do you show that person that you are thankful for their presence?

By showing gratitude, you not only change your perspective on the world but you also actively improve your physical and mental health. For example, having a grateful attitude can reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk for social isolation and depression.

Simple Practices to Increase Gratitude

At Astral at Auburn, we understand that gratitude is not just something to be felt – it is something you must practice daily. By making gratitude a permanent part of your daily life, you can improve your health and your relationships with others. 

Here are some easy ways that you can practice gratitude today:

  • Keep a gratitude journal and write at least one thing you are thankful for each day.
  • When you become irritated by a situation, ask yourself what it is trying to teach you.
  • Reach out to the people you love and tell them why you are grateful for them.
  • Be grateful and forgiving toward yourself and let go of past mistakes.
  • Start each day by saying one thing that you are thankful for.

We hope that you will be able to incorporate gratitude into your daily experience. In doing so, you will experience a life that is rich in joy and contentment. In addition, we encourage you to visit our blog to explore other health and wellness topics! 

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