It’s that time of year again – cooler temperatures, autumn scents, cozy blankets, holiday planning, and the company of friends and family. Thanksgiving is right around the corner encouraging us to focus on the ways we are thankful. Many seniors find comfort and excitement during this time of year.

For some seniors, cooler temperatures and road and sidewalk conditions can make many of us spend more time isolated indoors. Sad thoughts can flood in – the loss of a loved one, diminishing health, or far away family. It’s easy to see why many become less happy and focus on negative thoughts.

According to a Harvard Health Publication on gratitude, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Therefore, happiness can be a choice and to cultivate happiness, you need to practice it. How do you practice being happy? Practice gratitude!

When practicing ways to be grateful, remember to take it slow and don’t try to implement too many things at once. Be intentional when you wake each morning, and find a few small ways that work for you. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Go for a walk, be mindful of the beauty around you, and appreciate it.

  • Sit down and write about three special memories of your lifetime.

  • Read a daily devotional and pray, meditate, and/or journal about it.

  • Keep a gratitude journal, writing down 5-10 things you are grateful for daily. Many find doing this first thing in the morning helps set the tone for the day.

  • Volunteer at a local charity, hospital, or an animal clinic. If you are able, you can benefit markedly from helping others. 

  • Write gratitude letters to those special to you and share with them all the positive things going on in your life.

  • Look at family pictures and reminisce about your legacy.

  • Do a small act of kindness every day.

  • Make eye contact, smile, or compliment someone.

  • Spend time with a family member or friend that you care about deeply.

By incorporating gratitude practice into your daily life, you will find yourself waking up with enthusiasm, enjoying the company of others, and looking forward to all this autumn season has to offer.

What’s your favorite way to show gratitude?  Comment below.