When people mention “aging gracefully,” images of Helen Mirren or Diane Lane may come to mind. Yet graceful aging involves more than simply physical appearance or activities; it requires changing one’s approach towards growing older.
One key to healthy aging is cultivating gratitude. According to research, feeling and expressing appreciation leads to improved mental health benefits such as less depression, stress and anxiety as well as more prosocial behaviors like helping others and giving back to your community.
Focus on things you appreciate each week and record them in a journal or list; be specific. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on your senses and feelings for short periods, helping to cultivate feelings of thankfulness. HelpGuide offers free guided audio meditation Gratitude in Difficult Times to tap into its power of gratitude.
Practice gratitude can also help you view the world more positively and increase your self-esteem. For instance, when someone treats you to lunch as an act of appreciation and internalize that thought that others value you. Furthermore, 2016 research indicates that those who express gratitude experience increased levels of patience and self-control.