When I first saw Thankful for Cervical Dystonia I took a deep breath but continued reading. I’ve had enough life lessons, thank you very much! Dystonia is a life changing, miserable condition that has impacted our entire family. How could anyone find gratitude with chronic illness?
But as I read on I saw that the author was grateful for the life lessons that cervical dystonia had taught her. Our worldviews are very different, but I as I read through the list I realized that I have been learning these same lessons myself since my own cervical dystonia diagnosis in 2010. Much like the 12 steps of recovery, some spiritual truths are universal and practical for anyone who seeks them.
Finding Gratitude With Chronic Illness
No matter what chronic illness you’re living with, I know that you’ll find these life lessons to be encouraging as well as empowering.
And if you haven’t found gratitude in chronic illness, that’s okay too. We’re all on the journey. Keep seeking and reaching out to others and the way will become apparent to you. Read on.
Gratitude changes your perspective on the life that you’ve been given. When you have gratitude in your life you:
- Feel less victimized by others or what’s happened in your life. Blaming no longer exists. Rather than look at what you may have lost or what you don’t have, you’re able to look at situations in a new light and move forward focusing on what you can do and what you have.
- Have a more open heart. Gratitude helps you become more compassionate and empathetic. You’ll be able to connect with people even if you don’t think you have much in common with them. It’s a more rewarding way to live.
- With gratitude you’ll be able to recognize and appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t. As you begin to become aware of what is good and positive in your life, what is good and positive will grow.
- Attract more gratitude and happiness. It’s often found that people attract experiences and people based on what they expect. If you focus on and expect good things to happen, more good may show up.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
Gratitude journals are often quicker to write in than full out personal journals so provide a quick snapshot into a span of time. If you don’t have time to write out a full narrative, jotting down some quick thanks is perfect. When you are feeling depressed or having trouble finding what’s positive, go back and look over your previous entries and gain a new slant on everything that is right with your life.
There’s no wrong way to begin and keep a gratitude journal. You might want to make it a daily habit, or you can keep the journal in a handy place and to write thankful thoughts when the mood strikes.
Gratitude Journal Prompts
- Your pets
- Your body – no matter what it’s capable of
- The gift of story in books, movies and social media
- Your faith
- Your Home
- Modern conveniences
- Your work
- Hobbies that bring you joy.
Finally, here’s some Christian scriptures to meditate on:
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-8