Gratitude and mindfulness are two buzz words that are often used in the wellness community. They may sound simple enough, but putting these words into action can be more challenging than expected. It can be easy to think you’re thankful for something, but truly valuing it requires putting thoughts into motion.
The reasons to practice gratitude and mindfulness are plenty. Studies show improvements in everything from physical health to emotional wellbeing to relationships with others. Home caregivers in particular benefit from gratitude and mindfulness because it can improve the relationships with their clients and their ability to feel less stressed during challenging home care tasks. Benefits and gratitude and mindfulness include:
More cognitive flexibility
Increased empathy and compassion
Improved physical health
Better sense of wellbeing
Increase in self-esteem
It’s obvious that these benefits are all useful tools for home care services, especially increases in empathy, compassion, and resilience. Home care is a very personal and vulnerable vocation and requires mental and emotional resilience in order to maintain best practices with seniors and people who have disabilities.
What is Gratitude?
The quality of gratitude extends beyond feeling thankful. Gratitude is something that needs to be cultivated and put into practice in order for someone to receive its full benefits. Showing appreciation for the things you are grateful for is the way to put gratitude into motion. Acts of appreciation do not need to be large — even a simple thank you or a smile is enough to make someone feel valued. Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness and the recognition that the source of this goodness often comes from outside of ourselves. Practicing gratitude is a way to remain humble and to create an environment in which you and those around you feel valued and appreciated.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of being conscious or aware of something. Practicing mindfulness requires being in the present moment as much as possible. By being present, a person can focus and decrease stress by not worrying about the future or the past. Considering that home care services requires a high level of focus, home caregivers can truly benefit by having a mindfulness practice. Being focused and attentive also creates an awareness of what is happening with those around you, which can increase empathy and compassion and can aid in problem solving abilities.
How to Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness
Practicing gratitude and mindfulness is unique to each person and their preferences, but there are some tried and true methods that many people find useful. Actioning the qualities of gratitude and mindfulness can range from physical activity to spending time with loved ones. Best practices include:
Keep a gratitude journal. At the beginning or end of each day, write down 3-5 things you are grateful for and why. At the end of each week, read through your journal to remind yourself of all the things you feel grateful for.
Embody mindfulness. Taking up a physical practice of mindfulness such as yoga or tai chi will help create focus in both mind and body. Bringing awareness to your body can help locate points of stress and can lead to improved health.
Meditate. There are many ways to meditate. Some people prefer guided meditation, others prefer prayer. With so many meditation options to choose from, it may take a little time to find one that suits you best or you may decide to practice a variety of types. Either way, meditation is a way to calm the mind and bring awareness to sources of stress in your life. It can lead to self-awareness and an improved capability to cultivate gratitude and mindfulness.
Be of service to others. Home caregivers are a natural at this one, since they are being of service with their home care vocation. Other ways to be of service include helping a friend or volunteering.
Be of service to yourself. Many home caregivers spend so much time helping other people that they don’t spend enough time taking care of themselves. Take a little moment out of each day to do something that is kind for yourself, whether it is going on a walk and treating yourself to something you enjoy.
Spend time with loved ones. Socializing with people you care about creates a sense of kindness and makes people feel valued. The social connection can nurture mental and emotional wellbeing.
Create an affirmation. Pick an affirmation, such as “I am thankful for my health” or “I like to be of service to others”, and repeat it several times each day. Change your affirmation as needed or incorporate multiple ones.
The Benefits of Home Care Services
Home caregiving has many benefits for both home caregivers and for clients. Seniors and people with disabilities receive the benefits of personalized care from the comfort of their own homes. Home caregiving itself helps to foster gratitude and mindfulness as it contains the components of being of service, helping others, and connecting with others. Gratitude and mindfulness activities are also something that home caregivers can practice with their clients. For example, keeping a gratitude journal together. It’s the little things, like being able to practice gratitude and mindfulness, that make home care services so valuable.
If you are looking for home care services or if you are interested in becoming a home caregiver, please contact Alegre Home Care at one of our many locations in Northern California.