“Tips for Caregivers, Near and Far”
February 25, 2018
Tip #12 – Practice Gratitude to Shift Your Perspective & Mood
My 89-year-old mom lives over 2,000 miles away. I’m often on edge when the phone rings at odd hours. I never know when I might have to pack my bags and fly across the country for a health emergency. (I don’t actually have to fly there, as I have a sibling who lives near her, but I know she feels calmer when I’m there and I know that I have more peace of mind being near her at a time like that.) I’ve done it before.
I recently overspent on something that I hadn’t planned to. I began berating myself. “How could I spend so much money on that?” I fell asleep asking myself that question and woke up the next morning with the same question on my mind. Then I had another thought. “I’m grateful that I had the money to spend on this purchase that will bring enjoyment because I didn’t have to spend on an emergency visit to my mom. I’m grateful that she’s doing well.” And, just like that, I relaxed. (Please don’t take this as a promotion for irresponsible spending. It’s about perspective.)
Gratitude for every day that my mom has stable health, makes the small hassles in life that much smaller. Gratitude for every moment I get to spend with her, even if that means not taking exotic vacations so that I can, instead, use the time and money to fly to visit my mom a few times per year, puts everything else into a different light.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to shift our own perspective about what can be an, otherwise, stressful situation and to adjust our attitude to joyfulness and inner peace.
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