For me it all started with an offhand comment I made to one of my health practitioners about how I wasn’t going to hold my breath for one of my various treatments to work. I wasn’t in a bad mood. I wasn’t trying to be negative. I was, in my view, being realistic. I’ve been battling multiple chronic illnesses for over 10 years now. I’ve learned that I only have so much control, and sometimes I have to just ride the rollercoaster I’ve been placed on, whether I want to or not. I do try to be positive, and actually, I’m often complimented on my happy outlook on life, but sometimes things just slip through. This time, however, it ended up leading to a wonderful conversation about gratitude, and it completely changed the way I look at things.
At times it can be really hard to be grateful for some of the things in my life. How could I be grateful for all my food problems? Or the fact that I’m too weak to go on a walk, or that I can’t go into other buildings? Well, what I’ve learned is that it isn’t so much the problem I need to be grateful for, but instead everything that comes with it. For instance, yes, my food sensitivities are extremely limiting and frustrating, but I’ve grown so much because of them. Now I will try anything! I used to be rather picky, but after having so much taken away from me, I will now happily try new things! And yes, I’m too weak to go on walks, but you know what I’m strong enough to do? Sew and crochet! And I can’t go to the grocery store, but I’m so lucky to live in a time where Amazon Prime is a thing!
So it isn’t about being grateful for the problem itself, but instead, understanding the good that has tagged along with the not so good situation. It’s easier to spot the bad, but it’s healthier to seek out the good.
Each day I write in my gratitude journal and the more I do it, the more effortless it becomes. I noticed right away that I felt lighter and happier. At Christmas I made little paper ornaments and wrote something I was grateful for each day. I placed them on the tree and by Christmas I had 25 Gratitude Ornaments. On my rough days I would stand in front of the tree re-reading them all to remind myself of why I’m so blessed. It really does help, and as hard as it can be, I urge you to try. I did, and now I look forward to writing in my gratitude journal each night.
For those who prefer audio over text, I’ve recorded myself reading the blog here:
December 2, 2016 at 4:50 pm
I learned last week that I need to do approximately a year of solitude due to longstanding mold and other problems, and I’m grieving. I’m pretty sure your posts will help and it is the perfect time of year to try the “gratitude ornament” idea. Thank you. I’m looking forward to reading more.
December 2, 2016 at 6:38 pm
So sorry to hear that you are going through this whole mold detox thing too. It’s not a fun club to join. I’ve been through it myself though, so hopefully you find my experience helpful. 🙂
January 4, 2017 at 11:46 am
Are you still doing the gratitude journal? Do you find yourself getting repetitive?
January 5, 2017 at 6:22 am
I have been noticing myself getting repetitive. I stopped the gratitude journal for the month of December because instead, during Christmas, I write what I’m grateful for each day and put it on a little paper ornament for the Christmas tree. (Here’s a post I wrote about that: https://resilientlyrachel.com/2016/11/25/the-healing-power-of-gratitude-ornaments/) I’m trying to come up with a new way of having the gratitude journal for 2017. I want to find one that has specific questions or specific areas to focus on each day. The one I have now doesn’t give a prompt, so it’s very open ended and I find it hard to come up with new things to say. If one said something each day like “say something that went well this morning” or “who is the person you are most grateful for in your life today” I think that would be helpful. I have to do some googling to see if there’s a gratitude journal like that that even exists.🙂
May 16, 2017 at 8:37 am
Hello Rachel, Thank you for sharing your story. I have a daughter who now at age 21, has struggled with lyme since the age of 13. We have yet to find a treatment that works for her. She has decided to have a JOY journal. Each day she writes down at least one thing that brought her joy. Sometimes it is just me walking into her room and doing something silly to make her laugh. Just a suggestion for 2017.
May 16, 2017 at 3:38 pm
That’s awesome! I love the idea of a joy journal! Catchy name, too! 🙂