This Thanksgiving Day, Capital Caring Health (CCH) hopes that you have many reasons to give thanks. Whether it’s the blessings of good health, family and friends, or the simple beauty of a fall afternoon, we all have reasons to be grateful for life’s gifts, both large and small.
During Thanksgiving and every day, we at Capital Caring Health are grateful for the donors who support our efforts, and for the many volunteers who show up for patients and families in need, day after day. We are also grateful for our dedicated, professional staff who continue to provide the best in compassionate advanced illness and hospice care, during good times and challenging ones.
And to our patients and families, thank you for your confidence and trust in our care.
Thanks to the gratitude of our community, CCH has been able to offer special programs such as Primary Care at Home (PCAH) and Advanced Cardiac Care (ACC) to help housebound seniors get the care they need, and keep those with congestive heart failure (CHF) safely at home. Community support has also allowed us to provide free grief counseling services to anyone who requests it, including those without coverage or financial resources.
So this Thanksgiving, we hope you’ll take time to consider what you’re grateful for, and find ways to pay it forward. Whether serving a Thanksgiving meal at a homeless shelter, contributing to a cause you believe in, or checking in on an older neighbor, not only will you be doing something good for others, but also for yourself.
Gratitude Leads to Happiness and Good Health
Have you ever noticed how good you feel when you do something nice for others? Well, it’s not just your imagination. Research has demonstrated that expressing gratitude results in improved well-being along with many other health benefits.
Over the past 20 years, studies have consistently found that people who practice gratitude experience better physical and mental health, with fewer symptoms of illness and depression. For example, men and women with heart disease who practiced gratitude showed significant improvement in heart health. Being grateful is also more likely to result in self-control, leading to better decisions about healthy eating, smoking, and other lifestyle choices.
Gratitude builds optimism, resilience, and mental stamina, and provides perspective on loss. As such, it can boost self-esteem, and may even help you win new friends. No wonder gratitude as a character trait is considered the single best indicator of well-being!
Five Ways to Build More Gratitude into Your Life
Overall, women are more likely than men to be grateful on a regular basis (52% vs 44%), with the following reasons topping the list:
- When something unexpectedly good happens (69%)
- For children and family members (62%)
Interestingly, nearly half of the women surveyed said that they actively try to find something to be grateful for every day, even if it as simple as taking a walk outdoors.
So if you’d like to experience similar positive benefits, but a sense of gratitude does not come naturally, you can take action to up your well-being quotient. Try any or all of these evidence-based suggestions from experts including The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley:
- Visually remind yourself of what makes you grateful. Surround yourself with family photos, a souvenir of a great trip, or a gift someone made.
- Remember the bad things. While it may sound odd and probably not much fun, sometimes it’s the compare-and-contrast of past struggles that remind you how good you have it now.
- Appreciate the ordinary. Every day, select something around you— like the music you’re listening to, a flowering plant, or your evening meal—and decide what about it you appreciate. With practice, feeling gratitude will become second nature.
- Write to someone who made you grateful. Spend 15 minutes every week to write a letter (or email) thanking someone who helped you feel this way. Research shows you don’t have to actually send it to benefit, but you can get a big happiness boost by delivering it in person!
- Keep a gratitude journal. Each night, write down 3 things you were grateful for that day. This may take some practice, but you will probably sleep better and carry feelings of well-being into the next day.
Finally, if you’d like to earn some gratitude from the patients and families in our care, here are a few concrete ideas on how to support advanced illness care and services in our community:
- Donate items, shop, or volunteer at the CCH Thrift Store.
There are many ways to help: Contribute items you no longer need, shop for unique goods, or volunteer at our highly regarded Thrift Store in Falls Church, VA. Merchandise includes clothing, household items, jewelry and art, even holiday decorations. All proceeds go to our Patient Care Fund which covers the costs of care for those who are uninsured and/or lack financial resources. To learn more, including our donation standards and what shoppers and volunteers have to say about the goods and great prices, click here.
- Volunteer with CCH.
CCH volunteers take on a wide range of projects—from wrapping gifts for patient birthdays and holidays, to walking the dog of someone homebound, to providing companionship to a senior or veteran in our care. The choice is entirely yours! To see what CCH volunteers have to say about their experience, read our blog; you can also learn how to become a volunteer here.
- Support a child, veteran, or someone with dementia/Alzheimer’s
If giving back to you means financially supporting our efforts, we welcome you with open arms to our family of donors as we address the needs of those who count on us for comprehensive, compassionate care. Click here for one way to support our children’s program, or how to help veterans with Alzheimer’s/dementia with robotic companion pets. You can also find out how to support hospice care and grief counseling for local families.
So during this season of giving thanks, all of us at Capital Caring Health hope you have reason to feel grateful this year. Best wishes to you and your family for a healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!
To learn more about CCH programs and services, visit our website or call our 24-hour care line (800) 869-2136. You can also visit the Capital Caring Health Center for Health Equity to learn more about our mission and work.