A Heart of Thankfulness Fulfills Life

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Beth Pinyerd

Happy Thanksgiving week to our beautiful and loving community. The holidays bring families together in a wonderful way.

The holidays give parents and grandparents close time and down time to be with children and grandchildren. The holidays bring so much intergenerational interaction and relationships. The young and the elderly can learn so much from each other. A wonderful gift we and our young children can learn from the older generation is the true meaning and joy of being thankful and grateful.

As a Baby Boomer, I love to sit down with my friends from the “Silent Generation”. During the holiday, they express their insights and thoughts and I can accept their wisdom, contentedness, happiness and adversities that are a part of life. We learn and grow from our experiences. With this contentment, we understand that gratitude is an emotion which interacts and relates to positive feelings of happiness, joy and wellness, which improve the quality of lives.

Readers, think of times in your lives when you had a need, assistance was provided with no strings attached and only pure gratitude could be expressed.

It has been found from research studies that truly being grateful and embracing these feelings provide “a spoonful of sugar” health benefits when it comes to our lives and to the lives of our senior adults.

1. Seniors who are grateful are happier and more content. They seem to have less physical symptoms and are not prone to depression, which can affect overall health. They are thankful and happy with their lives.

2. Seniors who are grateful have healthy and positive ways of coping with stresses in their lives — like having better nutrition, exercising more, sleeping better and focusing on the positive rather than the negative — and enjoy a better outlook on life.

3. Grateful senior adults are more connected with other people, more social in reaching out to people, joining activities and being able to communicate their needs more clearly.

One of my favorite hymns as we enter Thanksgiving this week is “Count Your Blessings” composed by Johnson Oatman Jr. with the tune written by Edwin O. Excell.

Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done.

My older friends mentor me to accept the reality that “as you grow older, you grow to be more thankful for the simple things of life.” Their gratitude list includes friends, learning something new from life experiences, appreciation of the beauty of the world around them and, too, realizing that each day is a gift from God. My senior friends have modeled for me that even though they may not feel well, practicing gratitude helps them to extract the most out of life, as well as caring for others.

Our senior friends can cope with tough times. Many of them have been through the depression, wars, financial lean times, sad times and cultural changes. I have asked many of my senior friends, “Are you grateful when circumstances seem to be uncertain and dire?” Their response to me is that a grateful attitude is necessary.

Our national holiday of Thanksgiving was born from hard times. Thanksgiving took place after nearly half the Pilgrims had died from a rough winter and year.

Children observe us parents and grandparents as we manage our emotions when we are disappointed, frustrated or sad. Gratitude brings us hope to cope with the hard times, as well as the good times.

As we set up our “Cornucopia of the Fruits of the Spirit” this Thanksgiving season by modeling love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as we gather together as families and friends and celebrate God’s blessings for us, let’s remember that gratitude gives us hope. Happy Thanksgiving!

Beth Pinyerd,

Classroom Observer

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