Giving Thanks — How Gratitude Can Help Create Happiness
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, a lot of emphasis is placed upon gratitude. While Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to show appreciation to others (and to oneself!), gratitude is a valuable asset to use all year round. And studies even show that having gratitude can help create happiness. Fellowship Square dives into this topic and offers advice to seniors on how to be more grateful, starting now!
While the holidays are generally a joyous time, many people also experience stress, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, and even depression during the season. But it turns out that combatting these feelings with expressions of gratitude can help people become happier. An article on the Harvard Medical School website states that when people recognize the goodness in their lives through gratitude, they start to feel more connected to something larger than themselves “— whether to other peoples, nature, or a higher power.” This in itself can help people feel less lonely.
“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness,” the article goes on to state. “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Research also points to the fact that writing down things people are grateful for can help them become more optimistic and feel better about their lives. This study group even began to exercise more and had fewer doctor visits than the study group that focused on sources of aggravation, according to the article. So being grateful even has a positive effect on physical health!
When times are challenging and seniors are feeling hopeless or sad, it can be difficult to feel gratitude. However, there is always something to be grateful for — even if it’s something that is often taken for granted such as clean clothing, a hot meal, or waking up that day. Seniors can help cultivate gratitude in a number of ways including writing a thank you note to someone who has helped them, starting a gratitude journal and writing down things they appreciate and feel blessed for, meditating, and praying. Praying is a wonderful way for religious people to cultivate gratitude. Recalling fond memories and mentally being grateful for those positive experiences is another way to begin cultivating gratitude.
Fellowship Square encourages seniors to choose just one of these ways to start cultivating gratitude this year… and then add on! Being grateful is a powerful antidote — good for the mind, body, and soul! Fellowship Square is grateful for its wonderful staff and residents and their caregivers and loved ones and wishes them all a very grateful Thanksgiving this year.