Gratitude – The Benefits of Giving Thanks

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Posted: November 14, 2019

Everyone has problems, worries, and annoyances. It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what’s wrong rather than on what’s right. Older adults are especially susceptible to negative thinking, as physical or cognitive challenges, and the loss of friends and loved ones, often accompany aging. However, there are also very real benefits of aging: Wisdom, stability, cherished memories, and the freedom to do what you feel like doing, when you feel like doing it (to create more cherished memories!)

Taking time to give thanks for the positive aspects of life, such as family and friends, can boost mood and improve well-being, according to research cited by Harvard Medical School. Perhaps that’s why older adults celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by family are usually in a cheerful mood. During Thanksgiving, people reflect on what is good in life – what they are grateful for.

In the study, researchers asked three groups of people to keep a journal for 10 weeks. One group was to write about things they were grateful for during the week, a second group was to write about things that annoyed or irritated them, and a third group was to write about things that had affected them (with no instructions specifying positive or negative.) At the end of the 10 weeks, those who focused on gratitude reported higher levels of optimism and well-being, fewer doctor’s visits, and more exercise than their counterparts.

It’s natural to count your blessings during Thanksgiving, but cultivating gratitude on a daily basis can keep the happy feelings flowing year-round. Whether you jot down what you are thankful for in a gratitude journal, pray, meditate, or thank someone personally for the positive impact they’ve made on your life, positivity is contagious and has ripple effects. Happier people have more energy, are receptive to new experiences and friendships, and make time to connect with loved ones. As the saying goes, attitude is everything!

Older adults often say they’re most thankful for family and good friends. Residents of our Steamboat Springs active retirement community, Casey’s Pond, are treated like family by our caring staff. They also have plenty of opportunities to forge rewarding new friendships. Contact us today to learn more!

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