Putting the “Thanks” into Thanksgiving

Putting the “Thanks” into Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving traditions run the gamut from a family Turkey Trot 5K race to an early morning coffee run before a Black Friday shopping excursion, to staying home in your sweatpants to watch football. Whatever your family’s traditions are, taking the time to express thanks is crucial.

Why Give Thanks?

Giving thanks is an important part of a total wellness practice, especially for seniors. We explored the many benefits thankfulness can bring to people over 60 in our Gratitude 2021 blog. But there’s new research on this topic. This recent article from the National Council on Aging reports that one of the biggest problems facing seniors is loneliness. According to the article, “when people have higher levels of gratitude, they tend to be more socially connected, better able to handle stress, have lower levels of depression, better sleep quality, and stronger biomarkers such as higher rates of good cholesterol. All of these could help counteract the dangerous effects of loneliness.”

The article outlines a few best gratitude practices shared by seniors who have made gratitude a daily habit:

  • Ask yourself every morning, ‘What am I grateful for today?’
  • Send thank-you cards to old friends, family, and acquaintances.
  • Write thank-you cards to health care providers to say ‘thanks’ for their care this year.
  • Write down and then read out loud what you’re grateful for.
  • Keep a gratitude journal to state your appreciation for the little things.

There’s a direct line between gratitude and positivity. Gratitude leads to positivity by encouraging us to focus on what is rather than what is not. Gratitude is also connected to mindfulness; expressing gratitude requires self-awareness and reflection. We have a resource right here in town to learn mindfulness. The Milwaukee Mindfulness Community is the local go-to for this foundational element of an overall wellness practice.

One thing we can all be thankful for is the beautiful community with which we surround ourselves here, at Eastcastle Place senior living community in Milwaukee. No need to wait until November 24 to celebrate. We’ve had a couple of Eastcastle Place Friendsgiving celebrations already. If you miss these, no worries…we can all be thankful for our amenities, ongoing events and programs, our wonderful friends and neighbors, and our dedicated staff.

Remember the Irving Berlin classic from the movie White Christmas that Bing Crosby crooned so beautifully:

“If you’re worried and you can’t sleep

Just count your blessings instead of sheep

And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”

Take those words of wisdom to heart for mental and physical benefits, and have a wonderful, safe and delicious Thanksgiving!