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Jessica’s Coping with Lupus Corner

Giving Thanks Gives Health a Boost

Jessica Rowshandel, M.S.W.
Jessica, Rowshandel, M.S.W.
Director of Social Services
S.L.E. Lupus Foundation

It’s the end of the year and November and December mark our season of giving thanks. Giving thanks is as important for our overall happiness as it is for coping with chronic illnesses of any kind. I’m sure we could all name everything that is going wrong in our lives much easier than what is going right. And when it comes to coping with lupus, remembering the good things in your life is not only good for overall happiness, but it is a matter of health. Doctors say over and over again that it is important to keep stress levels as low as possible since stress can trigger lupus flares. Keeping a gratitude journal is a very tangible and simple way to help us remember that even in the midst of life’s challenges, we all have things to be grateful for — big or small.

There are many ways to keep a gratitude journal. You could keep a journal to describe your day, making a conscious effort to highlight the things that went right or that you are thankful for. It can be as simple as listing 3–5 things in a notebook before bedtime. Taking the few minutes to make this short and simple list can help you end the day thinking about what is going right in your life, instead of what is going wrong.

And this isn’t all a matter of opinion. University of California – Davis has put together a summary of research findings that show that people who keep gratitude journals (or implement “gratitude interventions”) have an overall greater sense of well being.

I am grateful that the internet provides a seemingly endless list of opportunities to keep track of your gratitude from websites that provide you with free opportunities to keep online journals, to a simple how-to page if you want to keep a journal in a notebook, to an entire website put out by the University of California – Berkeley about living a happy and meaningful life. And yes! There is even an app for that. For 99 cents you can purchase a gratitude journal phone app.

What are you thankful for, lately?

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Disclaimer: This website and its contents are designed for educational purposes only. Jessica Rowshandel, MSW is the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation’s Director of Social Services. She is not a physician. The advice provided is for educational and informational purposes and the Foundation does not recommend or endorse any particular treatment or therapy. The information provided here should not be used for the purposes of diagnosing or treating a medical or psychiatric illness. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional care. Lupus is a very individualized illness; consult a healthcare professional before making any decisions about your care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider. Telephone calls, emails, and online content do not constitute counseling services in any way. The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation does not provide any medical or psychological services to its patients and users. For an accurate medical or mental health evaluation, participants should seek an evaluation from a qualified healthcare professional. S.L.E. Lupus Foundation employees, consultants, and agents shall not be liable for any claims or damages, and expressly disclaim all liability of any nature for any action or non-action taken as a result of the information generated by the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation programs and its website, as well as the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Facebook and Twitter pages.