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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