According to studies carried out by psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, people who are grateful and appreciate even the small things in life, feel much more optimistic about life, find a stronger purpose in work and life and are more willing to help others in need. Psychologist Nathaniel Lambert confirmed grateful people are able to construct a more optimistic vision of life, which in turn motivates them to live healthier, exercise more and find greater satisfaction with life, while reducing their desire to buy and possess materialistic things.
Takeaway: Similar to optimism, gratitude can also be cultivated with practice and awareness. One way to master gratitude and appreciate the things that are meaningful to you, is to keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, take a few minutes to write about what you are thankful for, whether it’s the morning cup of coffee that filled you with energy and enthusiasm or an important career achievement. According to psychologists, journaling about gratitude helps you keep track of the positive things in your life, improves your self-esteem, cardiovascular health and physical health.
Man’s best friend
Pets are much more than furry friends that bring you the morning paper, they’re part of the family; and much like family members, pets can make a person’s life better, happier and healthier. For seniors, having a pet helps them turn their attention to something else other than their physical problems and negative feelings about aging. Furry companions can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase the physical activity of their owners.
In fact, according to a study published in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, older adults who take their dogs for a walk at least once a day engage in 20 percent more physical activity than their petless counterparts. Dogs have also been found to provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of depression and feelings of loneliness, improve the owner’s physical and mental health and boost their longevity.
Takeaway: The advantages of seniors owning pets are undeniable. If you are interested in adopting and welcoming a pet into your family, you can visit your local animal shelter. However, if you can’t adopt an animal full time, you can always become a foster parent. This involves taking an animal from the rescue center and take care of it for a few days, weeks or more and maybe find a loving family to adopt it for good.