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WRITING ABOUT GRATITUDE IN JOURNALS BY AND FOR CAREGIVERS


Current research is finding that taking care of caregivers could as important as providing care for their care-recipients. By simply listing what you, as a cargiver, are grateful for may provide you with the much needed tender loving care that you are providing for someone else - and that you are typically not not receiving from any other other source.

There is a variety of research which tests the idea that gratitude can be a component in caregiving.

We may often be stressed by caregiving activities. Jo-Ann Tsang, Ph.D., assistant professor of psyhcology in Baylor University's department of psychology and neuroscience, theorized that somehting as simple as writing about gratitude will help relieve stress

In order to show the link between gratitude and health, she is analyzing just how gratefulness imacts the lives of men and women who care for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease. "Caring for a person with Alzheimer's Disease is a prime example of unlimited love" said Dr. Tsang. "There is a lot of sacrifice involved, a lot of cost, and no reward." While her research is focused on Alzheimer's caregivers, the results of that research may be extrapolated to all caregivers.

In the study some participants wrote in journals what they were grateful for each day while others listed each day's hardships.

While the data has not been statistically analyzed Dr. Tsang theorizes that those who completed the gratitude jouurnals will have increases in their psychological well being, general health, and life satsifaction.

Previous research with college students found that gratitude had improved their physical and cognitive health. Since caregivers are dealing withh much more serious issues, an emphasis on gratitude could conceivably help them cope with their daily problems more effectively.

Dr. Tsang is modeling her research after other studies regarding gratitude and well-being. It was found that people who kept weekly journals felt much better about their lives as a whole and were much more optimistic about the upcoming week than people who recorded life's hassles.

The Davis campus of the University of California is also conducting a series of experiments that suggest "counting your blessings leads to improved physical and mental functioning".They want to know if people consciously practice grateful living will their happiness rise and their ability to withstand negative events will improve along with their immunity to anger, envy, resentment, and depression

Overall, will gratitude journals increase awareness of gratitude-provoking circumstances in our lives?

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