It can feel challenging to remember to be thankful in our busy lives—especially in phases of life when things feel more complicated and gratitude feels farther away. However, the benefits of practicing gratitude are more profound than you might think:

An Attitude of Gratitude: What Are the Actual Benefits?

Did you know that top-level researchers have spent years looking into the scientific effects of gratitude on people’s lives? Well-known mental health professional Brené Brown, Ph.D., found that most people who describe themselves as “joyful” also practice gratitude daily. 

Another study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology 2017 connected a positive outlook on life and a regular sense of gratitude. It’s clear that being grateful is directly related to feeling happy overall.

For older adults transitioning from work to retirement, shifts in mental health are normal (and to be expected). At this stage of life, many people can experience anxiety or depression for various reasons. There are many ways to ease the symptoms of these conditions, and gratitude might be one of the easiest (and most effective). 

Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude Daily

Let’s face it: developing an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done. We’re faster to focus on the things that make us sad or upset in tough times. However, during these difficult periods, it is, in fact, more essential than ever to practice gratitude.

Here are a few quick and easy tasks to add to your daily routine to feel more grateful, experience more joy, and help your mental health flourish:

Make a List of What You’re Thankful For

Listing out the people, places, and things you feel gratitude toward is simple yet effective. While you may think about the things you’re grateful for throughout the day, writing them down on paper can make them feel more powerful. This practice is great to introduce to your morning or nighttime routine. 

Try Mental Subtraction

It’s easy to take the things we’re grateful for for granted, whether it’s spending time with a loved one to cooking a tasty meal, or receiving a kind word from a stranger. 

Next time you feel grateful for something, take a moment to think about how you would feel if that thing hadn’t happened or wasn’t around—a practice known as mental subtraction. This activity will help you put that experience into context and make you feel even more grateful for it than you did before.  

Do More of What Makes You Happy

If you were to list everything you’re grateful for, it would probably include many activities that make you feel joyful, calm, or satisfied. A simple way to practice gratitude is by simply doing more of those things. 

Your day could include many activities, from joining a book club to spending more time outdoors and everything in between. The key is to genuinely savor the time you spend doing these activities and contemplate how much they improve your life.

Tell Your Loved Ones How You Feel

Though you may be grateful for your TV or car, you’re probably even more thankful for your family, friends, and others who make your days brighter. Don’t hesitate to tell those people how you feel about them regularly. You’ll remember how grateful you are for them and share a small, joyful moment that will likely become a happy memory. 

Enjoy the Little Things at Vineyard Senior Living

At Vineyard Senior Living, everyone in our community is a neighbor and friend. And that mentality creates a space where everyone can feel loved, grateful, and fulfilled. Once you settle in at Vineyard Senior Living and check out our excellent amenities, you’ll experience how easy—and beneficial—an attitude of gratitude can be.