“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – G.K. Chesterton
Being a family caregiver to a senior is not at all an easy task. There are problems and challenges you will have to face along the way. It is perfectly normal for both the senior and the family caregiver to face hardships in their journey. There might be days when you’re feeling low, angry, frustrated, depressed or all at once.
However, practicing something as simple as gratitude can make a huge difference. It refers to appreciating the small things in life and not bickering about the things we don’t have. Being kind to one another and to the people who have made our lives so much happier. Mind you though, gratitude is not about ignoring the bad things in life, it’s about always finding that silver lining.
Here are some benefits of practicing gratitude for seniors-
- Emotional Well-Being: Gratitude helps you feel more relaxed and optimistic in general. You tend to be less envious of the things you don’t have but others do. You learn how to be satisfied with what life gives you and to smile and be happy nevertheless.
- Health Benefits: Studies have proved that practicing gratitude has considerable health benefits such as better sleep, more energy and a decline in blood pressure. Just by practicing gratitude you can achieve so many health benefits and avoid excess medication for the same.
A similar situation arises for the caregiver. Gratitude is a great stress buster for family caregivers plus it is so easy to do; requiring minimal efforts from your end. Research shows that practicing gratitude for caregivers can make you happier, healthier and protect you from caregiver depression.
Here are some benefits of practicing gratitude for caregivers-
- Reduces Body Pain: We all know the arduous job of a family caregiver which involves running from here to there the whole day. Believe it or not, but gratitude reduces body pain since all the positive energy is released in the form of endogenous opioids. This is also why grateful people tend to have a high tolerance for pain.
- Improved Relationships: Gratitude also has a positive impact on personal relationships such as those with friends and spouse. Demonstrating gratitude will make your friends, family and partner feel good which in turn will make you feel good as well. Conveying feelings of gratitude will also ease any conflicts or problems that you might be facing in personal relationships.
- Longer Life: Gratitude is directly related to positivity which in turn is related to one’s happiness. Such optimism and happiness is the key to a longer and healthier life. Keeping in mind all the health benefits of practicing gratitude, it is likely to increase the practitioner’s life expectancy.
Simple ways of practicing gratitude for seniors and caregivers-
- Maintain A Gratitude Journal: Once a week, before going to bed, just take 10 minutes to jot down all the things that you were grateful for in the past week. If you can do this daily, then there’s nothing like it.
- Saying Thank You: Say thank you to your loved ones whenever they have helped you with something. Never miss an opportunity to thank someone for their good deeds that have helped you.
- Praying & Meditating: Some people try to find the meaning of life through praying or meditating. This also a great way to express your gratitude spiritually since it acknowledges the fundamentals of life.
It is often said that we realize the true value of something only after it’s gone. Therefore, practice gratitude and appreciate it while it is still very much there. Never miss out on opportunities to be grateful for something or to someone. The benefits of this selfless act are truly remarkable for caregivers and seniors alike. You will never have to battle against caregiver stress and depression. If you wish to learn the art of gratitude deeply, then you can also check out caregiver coaching.