Living with chronic illness it can be difficult at times to see the positives in your life. What with the endless mental and physical symptoms attached to your condition/s, in some cases the inability to work, be financially stable, have your own property and maintain relationships – life can be very difficult.
The last month has been a trying time for me with my conditions (which you can read about here) and I took a dip both mentally and physically. However the thing that has kept me going is the thing that always keeps me going – taking the time to appreciate what I do have in my life.
Gratitude lists are a great tool in realising that even in your most difficult times, there are still things in your life to be grateful for. No matter how small.
There are many ways you can create gratitude lists, it is just dependant on how much time you would like to dedicate to it. Some people may find writing one thing down each night that they have been grateful for that day helpful, whilst others may like to make a list in one go once a month. Alternatively you may find it useful to do one in times when you need a pick me up. The point is it should provide you comfort in your most difficult times and a go to resource to remind you why your life is good.
So what should you add to your gratitude list? This is a list which is unique to you so whilst you may have some generalised items you can have personal items specific to you too.
E.g. My generalised gratitude list includes:
- Access to food/drink
- Roof over my head
- The sun
- The trees
- Books and the ability to read
- Warm bobble hats
- Hot water bottles
E.g. My personal gratitude list includes:
- My strength
- Anyone who has helped me on my journey
- My determination
- My achievements big and small
- My ability to keep going even when I want to give up
If you want to write daily gratitude lists, try and write about things that have happened to you that day which made you smile.
E.g. Wednesday gratitude list
- Had a shower
- Finished a chapter of my book
- Had someone pay me a compliment
- The weather
Another take is to give yourself themes to work around. From picking a season of the year (autumn) to a holiday you enjoy (Christmas), or even breaking down a gratitude you have already said and listing why you are grateful for it. You could even give yourself the alphabet challenge and list one thing beginning with each letter of the alphabet (if you can!)
E.g. My alphabet of gratitude includes:
- A is for Air
- B is for Blogging
- C is for Countryside
- D is for Dublin etc. etc.
Remember you can make it as serious or as fun as you want.
There you have it if there is one thing you do to make yourself feel better – make a gratitude list. There is no doubt life with chronic illness is hard, but remember to hold on to the little things in life; they are what will get you through.
So what are you grateful for?