During the coronavirus pandemic, we have witnessed our country coming together in support of one another.
I believe one day we will look back and say this time has afforded us the opportunity to appreciate our health, family and friends. Research shows having an attitude of gratitude, is strongly associated with greater happiness and good health. If this is so, it is vital to have a grateful heart during the worst pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu.
According to Harvard Health, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships”.
Over the last several years with social media running rampant, our nation has turned into a self-centered society. However, COVID 19 has helped us put things in perspective by focusing more on taking care of the needs of our neighbors, serving others and counting our blessings.
With the dreadful coronavirus, households have had the opportunity to reflect on the needs of others. Whether it is a nursing home, assisted living community, a hospital setting or just assisting a person in need, we have witnessed more compassion and thoughtfulness than ever before. Finding ways to help others gives us a healthy dose of gratitude
Scientists have found a grateful person can experience many benefits like:
- Living healthy- study after study shows people who are grateful have healthy benefits from improved cardiovascular health to lower blood pressure. The Mayo clinic reports there are no magic pills that improve sleep, boost energy and improve your mental and physical health like practicing gratitude daily.
- Sleeping better- by just jotting down a few items that you are grateful for before bedtime will help improve sleep habits.
- Suffering less pain- it is proven that those who are grateful have fewer physical and mental ailments.
- Improving relationships- as you might imagine, anytime you let others know that you appreciate them, the relationship is more likely to flourish. By simply telling someone thank you, you are more likely to have a good relationship
Regardless of any age, a grateful personality can extend quality of life. Sylvia Goldsholl who recently celebrated her 108th birthday enjoys her assisted living pals so much that she spends much of her time advocating on their behalf. Her friends and family say staying active is the key to her long life, as well as finding ways to take care of and appreciate others.
If you are wondering how to cultivate gratitude, these 3 tips will go a long way helping you get there:
- Personal visits-taking extra time to visit someone and letting them know how important they are to you is an excellent way to show gratitude. Looking someone in the eye is the most effective way to show you care.
- Picking up the telephone and calling someone-a phone call is not quite as effective as a personal visit, but people enjoy hearing a warm greeting over the telephone.
- Thank you notes, email or text- there is nothing more effective than an old fashioned hand written note to show your appreciation and thankfulness. President George H.W. Bush was known for his hand written notes. He believed a leader should build strong relations with world leaders and this happened to be one of his favorite ways to express his gratitude. Email and text are not quite as effective, but they are important connection tools to express our appreciation.
- Look for opportunities to share your gratitude-opportunities are always available, but you have to pay attention and search for them in your community.
Thankfully, gratitude is a choice and can be learned. No matter your age, you can begin the journey by being grateful for 3 things in your life today. Some people enjoy going the extra step by keeping a gratitude journal. Regardless of the route you choose, it will lead to a brighter day and healthy living.