The Power of Gratitude: What it Means and Why it Matters to You
Gratitude is more than simply saying "thank you." Gratitude has amazing powers and the ability to shift us from focusing on the negative to appreciating the positive. As a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's, practicing daily gratitude gives me a deeper connection to myself and my world.
For the good days
The easiest way to embrace gratitude is by focusing on the good days or the good moments of each day. Focusing on what I am grateful for when my loved one has a good day helps me embrace positivity. I often find myself practicing this more on their bad days.
On the difficult Alzheimer's caregiving journey, there are many ups and downs. This can often leave us feeling overwhelmed or negative. I embrace gratitude by thinking of what positive moments or good days my loved one has had. Even if it is something small, like when my mom is receptive to a hug, I am grateful.
For life lessons learned
Whether the lessons learned are from a good day or a difficult moment, embrace gratitude for what you have learned. The Alzheimer's journey is not always easy but there is always something to be grateful for. I embrace gratitude when thinking of how much my loved one has taught me through this experience. From my mom, I have learned to be patient, understand others' perspectives better, and discover self-care.
Learning these life lessons helps me grow as a person. Whether I'm faced with challenges, such as caring for my loved one with Alzheimer's I've learned to be grateful. Each day provides opportunities to learn something new about ourselves, our loved ones who may be affected by memory loss due to Alzheimer's, friends, and family.
Or even perhaps growing in our appreciation for the world around us. Whatever it may be, embrace gratitude in knowing that you are learning new things every day whether they are difficult or not!
Gratitude can also embrace the importance of allowing yourself to be vulnerable and embrace your flaws. Gratitude is a gift you give yourself.
I embrace gratitude by focusing on myself. As an individual, I know that if I don't make time for myself, then there won't be enough for others. As a caregiver, I know this also includes my loved one with Alzheimer's.
In order to do this, I use what works best for me. Personally meditating each morning or going out into nature to walk my dog work! This self-discovery time allows me a moment to embrace gratitude knowing that I am taking care of myself.
Alzheimer's and practicing daily gratitude
As a caregiver, practicing daily gratitude gives me a deeper connection to myself and the world around me. Gratitude helps me feel less stressed out by things I cannot control or change. It encourages me to focus on what is positive in life rather than dwelling on negative thoughts.
I encourage all caregivers who are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or exhausted from their caregiving duties to try a simple exercise. Take 10 minutes each day (or more if possible) during which time you will sit quietly and embrace gratitude. Think about all of the things you have to be thankful for.
By taking this simple step, you can discover how deep your well of gratitude can go when you embrace it mindfully.
Does humor help you cope?