Because November is National Gratitude Month, individuals and organizations across the country are working hard to create an attitude of gratitude. From schools and churches to businesses and communities, people everywhere are focusing on what they are thankful for as they embrace National Gratitude Month. Family caregivers that live with or take care of an elderly relative have a unique opportunity to take part in observing National Gratitude Month.
While it’s nice to take time to reflect on all the things they have, many people don’t realize that there are actual mental and physical health benefits from putting their focus on gratitude. Being mindful of all the ways that people can give thanks for the important things in their lives can generate regular positive thoughts.
Studies show that people who develop optimism and positive thinking are less likely to feel lonely, depressed, anxious and isolated. They often have more empathy, develop better relationships with family and friends and have higher self-esteem. Embracing a grateful outlook on life is definitely one way for family caregivers to deal with the stress and frustration of their duty of caring for an aging relative.
Family caregivers have a high risk of experiencing mental health issues like anxiety and depression, and every caregiver has experienced burnout at some point. Adopting a more thankful approach to life can alleviate some of the worries that accumulate and it can trigger more feelings of generosity and compassion. The psychological boost that family caregivers can experience when they regularly take a few moments to express gratitude to others can have lasting mental health results.
The physical benefits of practicing gratitude can also benefit people. It’s easy for tensions to rise with work, home improvements, family matters and maintaining friendships, on top of caring for an elderly relative. Stress and worry can lead to headaches, muscle aches, upset stomachs, fatigue and insomnia. For people with a more positive outlook on life, studies show that they are more likely to have lower blood pressure, better quality of sleep and even stronger immune systems. It’s true that there are physical benefits for those who engage in a regular recognition of things they are thankful for.
There are many ways that family caregivers can cultivate a more thankful approach to life. Many have a gratitude journal where they write down positive thoughts and things they are thankful for in their lives. Some people include gratitude in their daily meditations or prayers. Many people like to connect thoughts to actions and perform acts of service for others. Soon, the attitude of gratitude becomes a habit and the caregiver experiences better relationships, upbeat moods, less stress and more satisfaction out of life.
During the month of November, family caregivers should consider joining in for National Gratitude Month. It’s never too late to start, and it begins with simply telling people in their lives why they are appreciated. This includes the elderly relative in their care. In no time, family caregivers will see the positive impact that being grateful can make in their lives.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in New Milford, CT, or the surrounding areas, please contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Danbury, CT at 203-731-2544.