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Seniors and Gratitude – 5 Benefits of Thankfulness


Once again, we’re in the middle of the holiday season, hustling to either start or finish our Christmas shopping. We survived Black Friday, but now we’re facing Cyber Monday and all the bigger and better deals the retailers have to offer. Will it ever end? God, I hope so.


With all the busyness it is hard to simply stop and reflect on the real meanings of this season. One of those is the attitude of gratitude. We have much to be grateful and thankful for, but not everyone feels that way. This can be especially true for seniors, who may be experiencing severe health challenges, or the loss of friends and loved ones. It’s up to friends and relatives, therefore, to help remind seniors of those things they should reflect on. With this attitude in mind, here are five benefits seniors and others can derive from an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness:


  • Greater compassion – Writing in Positive Psychology, Kori D. Miller cites research showing that people who are more grateful tend to be more helpful, compassionate.


  • Better Physical and Mental Health Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and internationally acclaimed author, states in Psychology Today, that “grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups.”


  • Improved Relationships – A recent article in Harvard Health Publishing, cites, among other things, studies showing an increased positive correlation between gratitude and stronger more positive relationships.


  • Less Aggression – Citing a study by Nathan Dewall, Ph.D., Erin Ziegler, writing in the University of Kentucky’s Psychology Journal, states “grateful people aren’t just kinder people, … they are also less aggressive.”


  • Better Sleep – Numerous studies have been done on the health benefits of gratitude. The Happier Human, an online blog cited research that grateful people experience better sleep than those who don’t practice gratitude.


As you may have already guessed, the above list of benefits is just the tip of the iceberg. My research found several sites that listed over thirty benefits. Like many of you, it’s hard some days for me to stop and take the time to be grateful, even during the holidays, or especially during the holidays. It’s a discipline many of us don’t have or even try to cultivate, but we should.


If you’ve been reading my articles, you have seen that I almost always seem to touch on the idea of independence. Having a positive outlook and attitude is central, I feel, to being independent. Many, especially seniors, have a hard time being positive, maybe it’s a sense of loss, poor health, or few resources. The reasons don’t matter, but we can all be a little more thankful and help someone in the process look at the positives of gratitude.