Seniors are more prone to depression thanks to social isolation, decreased activity and increased medical problems, according to WebMD. While counseling and sunshine therapy can help manage symptoms of depression, one of the best ways to stay positive is to maintain a gratitude journal.
Taking time to be thankful is usually part of the holiday rituals many families take part in. But gratitude can be practiced at any time of the year. There are a multitude of benefits from taking time to be consciously grateful.
1. Making new friends
While it may seem like basic good manners to say please and thank you to others, showing gratitude to and appreciation of others, seniors are more likely to be sought for ongoing friendships and relationships. A 2014 study published in Emotion found that people who thanked others for simple acts of kindness like holding doors were more likely to be engaged in further conversation.
2. Improved physical health
According to a 2012 study, grateful people enjoy better health, report fewer aches and pains and are more likely to exercise, see their doctor and care for themselves.
3. Improved psychological health
Gratitude boosts positive emotions and reduces toxic emotions such as envy, regret and resentment. By managing these emotions and showing gratitude for the good things seniors have, they can improve their overall mood and quality of life.
4. Better sleep
Better mood, better sleep? A 2011 study found that people who spend 15 minutes before bed journaling and writing what they are grateful for enjoyed better quality sleep. By removing negative emotions before sleep, they were able to fall asleep faster thanks to reduced anxiety and worry.
5. Increased empathy
Individuals who practice gratitude regularly acted in a more pro-social manner when confronted with difficulties in daily life. Being aware of what makes them grateful improved their mood, even in difficult circumstances, and made it less likely that they would retaliate against others.
6. An easy self-esteem boost
Aging can take a toll on the sturdiest ego as new limitations develop where none existed before. But studies show that individuals who practice gratitude journaling experienced increased self-esteem even when comparing their circumstances to people who are more successful. Having high self-esteem means that individuals don’t feel threatened when presented with someone who appears more successful.
7. Improved mental resiliency
Gratitude improves the mind’s ability to overcome stress and trauma, according to a 2006 study performed with Vietnam War veterans. The idea is that having a baseline of gratitude to return to can help the mind cope with difficulties even in the most troubling times. This can be especially helpful for seniors dealing with difficult diagnoses or changes in routine and life quality.
Gratitude can be a foundational part of elder care and improve mood, quality of life and self-esteem. And it’s easy to start – a simple journal exercise or practice saying out loud things that seniors are grateful for can start a positive journey of positivity.
If you are considering Elder Care in Syracuse, NY, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at Serving Seniors, Inc. We specialize in offering services to the Senior Community in Syracuse and the surrounding area (Clay, Cicero, Liverpool, Baldwinsville, Central Square, and others). Call us today! 315-382-4300
Most seniors can live independent lives for quite some time with just minor assistance. Family and friends cannot always be there to help with daily tasks, but Serving Seniors can help fill the need for transportation, errands, housekeeping, and more. Just a few hours a week can enhance your senior’s independence, happiness and overall quality of life.
Joan assists concerned families seeking a trained caregiver who will treat their loved ones with dignity, respect and compassion. Serving Seniors provides the highest level in-home non-medical care and companionship. Families and seniors can be assured of friendly, personalized service from dedicated, compassionate caregivers.
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