Feel like you’re living under a rain cloud? Life not going your way? Here’s the good news: You can be taught to have a more positive attitude. And — if you work at it — a positive outlook can lead to less anxiety and depression.
Judith Moskowitz, lead psychologist in the study who consequently created a course to overcome the unpredictable manner of emotions so typical in individuals providing care for a senior, says, “We’re not saying don’t be sad or upset about what’s going on. But we know people can experience positive emotions alongside that negative emotion, and that positive emotion can help them cope better.”
The course teaches eight skills to help people cope with stress. Techniques include mindfulness and deep breathing, setting an attainable daily goal, keeping a gratitude journal and performing small acts of kindness.
Here’s a quick summary of the eight techniques used in Moskowitz’ study:
- Take a moment to identify one positive event each day.
- Tell someone about the positive event or share it on social media. This can help you savor the moment a little longer.
- Start a daily gratitude journal. Aim to find little things you’re grateful for, such as a good cup of coffee, a pretty sunrise or nice weather.
- Identify a personal strength and reflect on how you’ve used this strength today or in recent weeks.
- Set a daily goal and track your progress. “This is based on research that shows when we feel progress towards a goal, we have more positive emotions,” Moskowitz says. The goal should not be too lofty. You want to be able to perceive progress.
- Try to practice “positive reappraisal”: Identify an event or daily activity that is a hassle. Then, try to reframe the event in a more positive light. Example: If you’re stuck in traffic, try to savor the quiet time. If you practice this enough, it can start to become a habit.
- Do something nice for someone else each day. These daily acts of kindness can be as simple as giving someone a smile or giving up your seat on a crowded train. Research shows we feel better when we’re kind to others.
- Practice mindfulness by paying attention to the present moment. You can also try a 10-minute breathing exercise that uses a focus on breathing to help calm the mind.
For people providing care for a senior loved one with dementia, the necessity to focus on positives can be much more crucial to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent 5-week study in which the effectiveness of these coping skills were examined documented a decrease in depression scores of 16%, and a decrease in anxiety of 14%.
In addition to the ideas above, it is necessary for family caregivers to stop isolating themselves and trying to manage their caregiving duties alone, which can swiftly lead to caregiver burnout as well as other significant health problems. Working with a knowledgeable in-home care agency, like Help & Care, LLC, is the perfect approach to obtaining a much healthier life balance – both for family caregivers as well as the seniors in their care.
Life is stressful, however, we’re able to help! Contact the elder caregiver team at Help & Care, LLC for the dependable home care services that enable you some time to concentrate on self-care and good quality time with those you love.