Gratitude and Aging

As we approach Thanksgiving, it is a wonderful time of year to reflect on all the things we are thankful for. This year, Eaton is very grateful for staff, residents, and supporters as well as all the memories we created this year.  

Did you know that the practice of giving thanks has demonstrated benefits including improved mood and well-being, particularly for older adults? 

  • In a 2020 study, researchers found that reflecting on and savoring life experiences lead to increased feelings of gratitude, which in turn boosted positive attitudes toward aging, life satisfaction, hope, and self-esteem (Bryant, et al. 2020). 

Try meditating on your life’s lessons and feeling gratitude for the experiences that shaped who you have become.

  • In a 2018 study, researchers found that gratitude training programs for older adults improved positive affect, life satisfaction, happiness, and resilience (Salces-Cubero, et al. 2018). 

Take time to learn about the practice of gratitude by reading articles online, watching TEDtalks or finding local classes in your area.

  • In a 2014 study, researchers found that older adults who wrote down a ‘three good things’ list daily reported improved well-being and reduced stress (Killen & Macaskill, 2014).

Each evening, write down three good things that happened during the day. They can be small, like a cup of coffee, or big, like a great birthday party. 

What are other ways that you can incorporate gratitude into your life? 

  • Tell someone how much you love and appreciate them.
  • Acknowledge the beauty found in nature every day.
  • Practice random acts of kindness.
  • Volunteer to help others. 
  • Give strangers genuine compliments.
  • Commit to one day a week where you will not complain about anything.
  • Express gratitude to staff and service people. 
  • Make a gratitude collage with pictures to remind you of all the things you are thankful for.

 

References

Bryant, Fred B, Karen A Osowski, and Jennifer L Smith. “Gratitude as a Mediator of the Effects of Savoring on Positive Adjustment to Aging.” International journal of aging & human development 92.3 (2021): 275–300. Web.

Killen, Alison, and Ann Macaskill. “Using a Gratitude Intervention to Enhance Well-Being in Older Adults.” Journal of happiness studies 16.4 (2014): 947–964. Web.

Salces-Cubero, Isabel María, Encarnación Ramírez-Fernández, and Ana Raquel Ortega-Martínez. “Strengths in Older Adults: Differential Effect of Savoring, Gratitude and Optimism on Well-Being.” Aging & mental health 23.8 (2019): 1017–1024. Web.

 

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