"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
If you are new to assisted living and have been feeling less than grateful, it's important to consider taking a new perspective. Gratitude can change the way you feel and be a real gift for yourself and your community.
Gratitude is good for your health. It lowers cortisol in the body, which is a hormone that may cause frustrating symptoms of stress.
In fact, having gratitude may indirectly help improve immune system function. That could mean you'll feel healthier more often and won't have as great a chance of falling ill.
By reducing cortisol levels through gratitude, you can also help reduce the inflammation in your body. In fact, chronic stress and cortisol dysfunction have been linked to pain and inflammation, so changing your attitude and reducing your stress level have the potential to truly change how you feel.
Gratitude is also good for your emotional health. Being grateful for what you have rather than stressing about what you don't may give you better strength and resilience when you're dealing with trauma, grief, stress or other negative feelings or situations.
Interestingly, verbally expressing gratitude can also help you decrease the signs and symptoms of depression and may protect against it in the future.
Another thing to keep in mind about gratitude is that it can help form bonds. People who are focused on what they have versus what they don't tend to be inspired to give back to others.
For example, someone who's focused on not having the exact home they want may shut down and stop interacting with others. They might place a singular focus on getting what they want without considering those around them who may have less or need additional support.
When you can be grateful for what you have, you become more objective. You can positively view your life and look out at your community to see that others may not be in a situation as good as yours. You can then begin taking steps to be more inclusive of others or give back in other ways, such as volunteering or donating items you no longer need or want.
In these ways, people with gratitude tend to provide benefits to their surrounding communities. By doing that, the people around them become a tighter-knit community that's built on gratitude, friendship and collaboration.
It isn't always the case that you want to move from your home into an assisted living community. You may have wanted to stay longer where you were, or you might miss things about your home that you don't have in your new living arrangements.
While big moves can be overwhelming, developing gratitude for what you have or are receiving can help offset the upset of a major move.
While an assisted living community may not be where you thought you'd be living, there are benefits to being here that you shouldn't overlook. First, think of all the positives of living in this new environment.
You can try a few different techniques to foster gratitude in these settings.
One of the first ways to foster gratitude is by starting a gratitude journal. In this journal, write down all the things you're grateful for.
Initially, you may feel you don't have much to be thankful for, so start with just three things if you can. Then, each day, review the things you're thankful for and try to add at least one more.
Over time, you'll develop a more positive attitude thanks to seeing everything you have to be grateful for in your life.
Saying grace is a good way to reflect on what you should be grateful for. Thanking the Lord for your health, having a roof over your head and being in a community that protects your best interests can put you in the right headspace as you try to become more mindful and grateful for what you have.
Finally, a focus on being thankful and expressing your thanks to others can help improve your outlook. Saying "Thank you" to recognize when you should be thankful is a great habit to get into.
The benefits of gratitude make it worth taking a grateful approach to each day. At assisted living communities under the Bethesda Senior Living Communities umbrella, a focus is placed on enjoying life and developing gratitude for it.