Senior edition: ‘The Attitude of Gratitude’

By Holly Steele - For PCCOA

EATON — The act of gratitude is the act of focusing on the good in life. If we perceive our current life to have more good, we will also believe our future life to have more good. Optimism is correlated with gratitude because those with an optimistic disposition are biologically more likely to focus on the good (gratitude) than on the bad (personal disappointment, anxiety, etc.).

A grateful person takes kindness at face value, believing themselves to be a person worthy of receiving no-strings-attached kindness. Being on the receiving side of gratitude and kindness can be challenging. Which beckons the inquiry how good are you at receiving? Keep this question in the back of your mind as we move forward on this path of gratitude.

There are a million reasons why to be grateful. The research has been done time and time again listing the benefits of gratitude. Basically, when you choose to be grateful, you are choosing to be happier. In a heated moment, an angry, sad or emotional moment find your path to gratitude. In a moment of stress, or not getting your way, find the path to gratitude. That being said, I feel it’s best to practice paving the path to gratitude so you can easily and efficiently get to it when you need it.

When it comes to your personality gratitude strengthens your emotions, makes us more optimistic, reduces materialism, increases spiritualism, makes us less self-centered, and increases self-esteem. As for gratitude and your health it improves your sleep by increasing sleep quality, reducing the time required to fall asleep, and increases sleep duration. Basically, gratitude helps with insomnia. Gratitude also helps you stay away from the doctor, lets you live longer, increases your energy levels, and makes you more likely to exercise (What?!?!? Gratitude can make me more likely to exercise? I may have to do a little personal research on this one). Those who engage in gratitude practices have been shown to feel less pain (which beckons the question, ‘do you want to feel less pain?”), have lower blood pressure, and be less likely to develop a mental disorder.

Emotionally, gratitude helps us bounce back, makes us feel good, and makes our memories happier (that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling). Socially, gratitude reduces feelings of envy, helps us relax, makes you friendlier, helps your marriage, makes you look good, gratitude helps you make friends, and deepens friendships.

Last, but not least gratitude in your career makes you a more effective manager, helps you network, increases your goal achievement, improves your decision making, increases your productivity, gratitude is no cure-all, but it is a massively underutilized tool for improving life-satisfaction and happiness.

Overall, gratitude makes us happier humans, people like us, we are healthier, and we get a career boost when we are grateful. I invite you to take the time in your daily life to work your gratitude muscle, begin practicing gratitude by thinking, writing and speaking what you are grateful for, “I am grateful for…” I invite you to be willing and able to receive gratitude and kindness as well. As for those of us at the Senior Activities Center, we are practicing gratitude this month, stop in and practice gratitude with us.

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By Holly Steele