The Power of Gratitude for the Caregiver
As adult children providing care to an aging parent, there are a multitude of challenges associate with the role. Caregivers face strains on their time, finances, energy, and emotions. It is common for aging parents to gradually need more and more assistance with activities of daily living. It is equally common for adult children to gradually grieve the loss of the many things their parents used to be able to do and communicate. Perhaps an accident, such as a fall, propels you suddenly into the role of caregiver. Often issues of driving, end-of-life choices, and the balance of work between siblings can create tension. Each unique situation has its own measure of stress.
One of the most effective tools for combating caregiver stress is often forgotten: gratitude. While giving thanks doesn’t contain magic words, it does make us shift our perspective. In the midst of all the negative and challenging needs that demand your attention, focusing your attention on something positive has incredible power to infuse your situation with a sense of calm, presence, and patience.
Tips for Using Gratitude as a Stress Reliever
No. 1 :: Keep a gratitude journal by your bedside. Each night write down 1-3 things that you were grateful for that day. Nothing is too simple or small such as a good night’s sleep or a great meal.
No. 2 :: Create a rhythm of gratitude by stopping at the same time every day to think of one thing that you are grateful for in your life. This could be when you first wake up, on a lunch break, or on your drive home.
No. 3 :: Leave 3 x 5 cards out and invite your whole family to write down things they are grateful for and place them in a bowl or jar. If you are having a difficult moment or can’t think of something to be grateful for, draw out a card and read it.
No. 4 :: Invite a friend to go on a gratitude walk. While exercising and releasing endorphins each of you can share 5 things that you are grateful for. Bouncing ideas off of one another can help you see things you may take for granted.
No. 5 :: Volunteer. This is one of the most effective ways to foster gratitude. By getting out of your situation and helping another person or organization, it makes what you have in your life become apparent.
Published on July 22, 2013.