Dana Rubin-Winkelman, the Adult Day Services Social Worker has found a creative way to communicate with residents and families through her “Touch Points- A Spark of Light with Dana” emails. This beautiful and meaningful connection offers support and light through this uncertain time. We are excited to share with you.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” (Oprah Winfrey)

Hello friends,

This is Dana Rubin-Winkelman, the social worker. I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

In this week’s “Touch Points” email I will be focusing on the importance of cultivating gratitude, how gratitude has the ability to make us happier and healthier, and sharing activities to try at home. There is social science research that shows how giving thanks and practicing gratitude can help us in many ways!  For example, gratitude can increase our sense of balance and calm, enhance optimism, help us cope with stress, and improve our physical well-being too!

Sometimes, feeling a sense of gratitude is easy, and in more challenging times, like now, we may need to search for this optimistic outlook. But, all of us have something to be thankful for!  So, let’s find a variety of ways to count our blessings; my favorite ideas are listed below. Although you may not connect with all of them, I would be GRATEFUL (Ha, ha ha…) if you tried at least one idea.

Ways to cultivate the habit of grateful thinking:

  1. Start by paying attention and being mindful of your daily blessings. Be aware of little things each day that you are grateful for. There are easier things that might come to mind, so challenge yourself to find one new appreciation each day. There is nothing too small to be grateful for. For example, I was grateful that we had oatmeal and brown sugar in the house; that is exactly what I wanted to eat!
  2. Make the practice of gratitude social– Try to think about another person and why you are grateful for him/her. What has that person said or done to enrich your life or make it easier? Then, if you are able, share these warm feelings with the person.  You might talk about your appreciation during a meal, facetime call, phone call or a letter. This moment can facilitate a beautiful, loving connection.
  3. Find gratitude even during the challenging times. I think a pandemic certainly counts as a challenge! Don’t you?! So, even now, try to be aware of what you are grateful for. Daily, I am grateful for snuggles from my tiny, old dog, Maggie. What are you grateful for?
  4. Keep a daily gratitude journal or list– Get in the habit of expressing your gratitude daily. In the morning when you wake up, or before you go to bed, write a list of five things you are grateful for. Once you have a few entries, enjoy spending a few moments reading them. I guarantee you will smile.
  5. Say grace after meals.- In Judaism, we say “Birkat Hamazon” to give thanks to G-d for our food and for the nourishment. Let us also give thanks to people working in grocery stores, for the people delivering our food, and for those making meals. We are all so blessed to have a full belly. AMEN!
  6. Take a gratitude stroll– Go for a walk and notice all the things you are grateful for. It is healthy for us to get out of the house, even for a little while. If you can, take a walk, and if it’s too difficult, then sit outside. Use all your senses. Feel the sun on your face, feel the wind in your hair, hear the birds chirping, and smell the flowers that are just starting to bloom. What a glorious experience; savor this moment.
  7. Try a gratitude breathing exercise– Before we start, think of one or two things you are grateful for and keep them in your mind. Get comfortable in a comfy chair with arms and close your eyes. Put your hand on your heart, and be mindful of the moment. As you breathe in through your nose, think about a moment in your life you are deeply grateful for or something you cherish. Hold it for a few seconds, breathe it in, and feel it. Then breathe out through your mouth. Try this a few times and feel the grace in this moment. (Only do the exercise two times so you don’t feel light-headed.)

I would love to hear what you enjoyed, and what exercises you are incorporating into your life. How have you and your loved one felt more optimism and light?  My email is:  DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Gratitude is a powerful tool that allows our hearts to link to others in love and in peace. Thank you for adding beauty and meaning in my world. I am grateful.

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,