One year ago, Immanuel welcomed its first community in Iowa, The Shores at Pleasant Hill. We’re so grateful to honor this anniversary of service to seniors in surrounding Des Moines and celebrated this past November with residents, family members, employees, home office team members and community friends.
For over 132 years, Immanuel has had the privilege of living our mission of service to seniors, each other and the community. And this past year, we honored our mission with new offerings and renovations to better support residents, and new communities like The Shores and opening this spring, Graceview Courtyard in Council Bluffs.
This holiday season, we are overcome with gratitude.
Expressing gratitude has become a trend in self-care and self-health and for good reason. Harvard researchers have discovered that gratitude and happiness are linked. People who feel more grateful for their lives experience more positive emotions, improve their health and build stronger relationships.
One gratitude study divided participants into three groups and asked one group to write things they were grateful for that week; the second, things they were irritated about during the week; and the third, things that had affected them that week with no direction on whether they should be positive or negative. After 10 weeks, researchers saw that the group who expressed gratitude felt more optimistic and better about their lives than the other participants. The gratitude group also reported they exercised more!
Adding more gratitude to your life is one of the easiest, most least expensive activities you can do to better your health.
Consider starting a Gratitude Journal, a place to write down all the things your thankful for. The key to cultivating more gratitude in your life is to make it a habit, just as the study participants dedicated themselves to daily reflection. Start a journal for gratitude and place it in a place where you can sit down each day to add to it. The start or end of each day is a great time to reflect on your blessings or set a positive intention for your day.
Beyond journals, there are plenty of ways to express gratitude:
- Let a loved one know how much they mean to you during a visit or phone call.
- Thank the attentive wait staff at a restaurant.
- Let your pastor or priest know how much a recent sermon resonated with you.
- Write a thank you note to a friend who helped you through a challenging time.
- Remember your blessings through prayer or meditation.
- Express kindness. If you’re having trouble finding words of gratitude, rely on your actions. Acts of kindness go a long way in showing others you appreciate them.
Practicing gratitude seems easy during times in our lives where things are moving in positive directions. But when life seems harder, gratitude becomes even more important. If you’re facing a hard season of life and are struggling to find gratitude, don’t give up! Finding even little things to be grateful for—the sun shining, the beauty of the snow falling, nourishing food on the table—can help turn your perspective. Honor the challenges you’re having. Even sadness, anger or feelings of loneliness can teach us about life in ways we never knew, and even in that, we can find the gratitude.
During this season of gratitude, we extend many blessings to you and your family. But we know the holidays can also remind us of loved ones who have passed and traditions long forgotten. If you’re feeling lonely this holiday, you’re not alone. One in three seniors feel lonely and knowing your risk for loneliness is the first step.
Take our loneliness assessment at www.Immanuel.com/lonelinessassessment to discover your risk for loneliness and ideas on how to feel more fulfilled in your life.