Choosing to be the primary caregiver for a family member is a powerful, selfless act. However, finding ways to relieve the everyday stresses of caregiving and taking care of your own well-being is an essential part of being a caregiver. A great way to do this is by finding and practicing gratitude.
Gratitude is often defined as simply being thankful, but it is much more than that. Finding and practicing gratitude in order for it to be used as a tool for managing a caregiver’s wellness is about showing appreciation for the things that you are thankful for. The feeling of gratitude is a state of mind and needs to be felt sincerely from within. Harvard Health Publishing states, “gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
At Silver Comet Village, a senior living community located in Powder Springs, Georgia, we foster an environment of wholeness and gratitude. By practicing gratitude throughout all areas of our community for both residents and team members, we are able to provide compassionate care for those in which we serve. We know how powerful gratitude can be in a caregiving setting, which is why we want to share some of the benefits that finding gratitude can have and how to implement it into your daily life.
Benefits of Finding Gratitude
Daily Caring states that practicing “gratitude is a great stress-reduction technique for caregivers.”
Practicing gratitude can also bring caregivers a better sense of well-being and increased happiness. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “in positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
Furthermore, gratitude helps you to focus on what you have and not dwell on what you are lacking. Practicing gratitude allows you to stay in the present moment and be thankful for what is happening around you.
When you are focused on the present, your concentration is heightened. Staying in the present moment allows worries about future tasks to dissipate from your mind and helps you to put your full attention on what you are currently doing.
When you find and practice gratitude, you can also improve your relationship with loved ones. Compassion and empathy for the person you care for become more prominent and help you to grow closer to him or her.
How to Practice Gratitude
Keep a Gratitude Journal
A great way to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. This simple way of practicing gratitude is versatile in that your journal can take form in a notebook, a document on your computer, or in a note in your phone. Set aside a few minutes each day to record at least one thing you are thankful or grateful for. When finding gratitude, there is no right or wrong, and nothing is too big or too small.
When you are feeling overly stressed or emotionally drained, refer to your journal and read what you have written. Chances are that by doing this, you will put your day into perspective and improve your mood.
Acknowledge and Celebrate the Little Things
Just like writing down the small things you are grateful for, acknowledging the little things and small daily triumphs can help you to find gratitude. As with any role, you will have good days and bad days. Recognizing the good days can make the bad days easier to manage.
Meditation is a great way for you to be mindful of how you feel and gives you uninterrupted time and space for you to reflect on what you are grateful for. Take this time for yourself on a regular basis, and you will see the benefits filtering into your daily routine tasks.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
When you are the primary caregiver for a parent or family member, it is easy to get caught up in the caregiving process and overlook your personal relationship with him or her. Spending quality time with your family member, doing something that you both enjoy, is a great way to nurture your relationship and be grateful for having that person in your life.
Practicing gratitude at Silver Comet Village is not something we take lightly. Our care is built around understanding and learning from the individuals we care for, and we do everything we can to ensure that we cultivate an environment that adds to each person’s quality of life. We invite you to contact us or visit our website to learn more about our community and what we have to offer.
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