Gratitude Changes Our Perspective

Gratitude Changes Our Perspective

Through the Fog
It’s so easy to be overcome by all the negative things about fibromyalgia. Our symptoms scream for attention every day. Sometimes it is important to learn how to quiet those negative thoughts a bit by choosing to be thankful for the good things.

As Thanksgiving approaches, this is a good time to focus on some of the things I am thankful for.

Support

A good support system is worth its weight in gold. Perhaps that’s a spouse, a close friend, a child, or someone you met in a group online. You could even consider asking a few people who would be willing to be a part of your support “team” — people you can count on to be able to vent, bounce off ideas, or receive notes of encouragement.

Pets

I know many of us have fur babies who are awesome companions and comfort us on bad days. Pets can help you feel less alone, provide a sense of purpose, and give you the joy of their companionship. It’s amazing how they can know when we’re having a tough day as they stay close to us, letting us know we’re not alone in our suffering.

Gratitude

It’s good to be grateful for all the things we perhaps take for granted. Things like a roof over over our heads, food and water, indoor plumbing, access to the internet, clothes to wear, and a TV where we can binge-watch our favorite series and movies. It’s a great idea to keep a gratitude journal. It will help lift your spirits as you re-read those words you’ve written on not-so-good days. You can purchase a gratitude journal, like The Simple Abundance Journal Of Gratitude, or you can use a notebook to jot down your ideas. Just write down two to five things you’re thankful for at the end of the day. Maybe it’s a warm bed, or the fact that the day is over.

I certainly don’t advocate living in denial or getting lost in self-pity. I believe we would be healthier emotionally, mentally and spiritually if we took the time to see the things and people around us with a thankful heart. I’m thankful for everything I’ve gone through in my life, including fibromyalgia, because that has made me who I am today. I am better able to empathize with those who are hurting and I’ve learned to give myself grace as I go through this journey.

I’m thankful for this community and for the privilege of writing this column. I would love to hear your thoughts! Please share this with anyone you believe could benefit.

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Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

15 comments

  1. Karen says:

    Lately, I have been having some days where I just want to take pill & go back to bed. The aching has increased & I am just tired of it.

    I really needed to be reminded that I do have many things to be grateful for. My town has just been hit with a tornado but no serious injuries. Lots of structural damage, especially to business’s so people are out of work. Most of the power has been restored. Just a few hours without electricity reminds me to add that blessing to my list.

    At my age, I have been through many of life’s storms but never alone. He has promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone!

  2. Susan says:

    I struggle lately with this..
    I’ve lost everything since I became ill in 2012; my 24 year career in the dental field, my husband (which turns out, I am grateful for losing), my home, a friend from elementary school as well as my own mother and step dad. I am sick everyday as I go through a nasty divorce that I gave everything to, including my 401K and equity of my home that I sold after we got married. As soon as I became ill, he became a real hot head and I just could live with him any longer. I felt like a burden because I couldn’t work anymore. I finally got approved for SSD after 5 years of fighting for it. I am thankful for that. I remain homeless as I travel with a friend who drives a semi truck all over the country as I wait for a settlement that hopefully will be enough to buy a little piece of property to put a tiny house on or small cabin. I try hard everyday to be thankful. I have 3 grown kids and 2 grandkids that I adore. I have my friend and I have my little dog that knows when I’m not feeling well and stays real close. I am thankful for all of them.

  3. StevefromMA says:

    “Thanks for a warm bed and that the day is over” LOL, you can tell another pain sufferer, good column. I’m kind of with Karen, sometimes wish I could take a med when I get up to knock me out until it’s time to take a sleep med. If these are the Golden Years, I don’t look forward to the Platinum Years!

  4. HJ says:

    I have found the gratitude journal a helpful tool. Some days nothing in particular jumps out in my mind initially but it’s not that I’m not thankful… it gives me a moment to pause on things I’m taking for granted! So, sometimes it’s good to spend a moment reflecting on what we’re able to take for granted. It realigns my perspective! I know, too, that there were things I took for granted before the illness that I miss now… but the illness has changed me in that I’m more likely to appreciate life that occurs on a slower schedule because that’s closer to my schedule now. Nature is what comes to mind immediately — as I love to watch birds out the back window from the warm comfort of my home. I recognize some of the bird calls now! People my age (late 30’s) might be bar-hopping or engaged in more physical pursuits — well, maybe we’re finally getting too old for things like ultimate frisbee that was a trend for awhile. I doubt many 38 year-olds recognize the pleasure of the warmth of the sun.

    Another great tool for me involving journaling is an “accomplishments list.” I’ve realized that an accomplishment might be “washing 5 dishes.” It’s helped me settle with this idea that I have to complete a task to make progress on it. Any phone calls that you’ve been procrastinating on? Being able to add it to an accomplishments list is a plus. Personally, though, I use it as a reminder that I’m making small steps on days when I normally would look back and think I accomplished nothing. It also helps me ask myself, “What CAN I do, with my energy level and symptom level as they are?” It kind of boosts my confidence without making me feel obligated – whereas a “to do” list helps me, the to-do list also reminds me of how much more I need to get done and can be discouraging. I keep a to-do list, but I pick things off the list that are realistic to do based on how I feel… and then I can concentrate on my successes instead of how much more there is to do.

    I find that a big part of adapting to life with a chronic illness involves keeping things in perspective or realigning my perspective with the new reality I’m living.

  5. Bonnie says:

    Good to hear from all of you fellow “fighters/warriors/etc.etc.” I have had so much physical pain w/change in weather and triple whammy in past few months w/loss of my pet that warmed my heart and feet and a woman who was a best forever friend met just to late in life. My holiday trip later this month will be very very hard on me because I DO NOT WANT TO GO! Environment and any emotional support just not there. 5 days/4 nights I dread. HOWEVER!!! I AM THANKFUL FOR LOTS OF OTHER PARTS OF LIFE AND HAVING YOU ALL ONLINE. We will all be thinking of each other I’m sure!

    • patricia fraser says:

      first of all get a dog, I volunteer at local shelter and there are many dogs or cats, lap ones at that, that will give you a purpose and get you moving. Secondly, only person that is going to suffer is you for 5 days and 4 nights. Tell whomever that your pain is out of control and could there be a compromise of possible 1 night, 1 day? If you don’t feel good then it will get worse around people that don’t get it and you will feel guilty and very uncomfortable saying your sorry 100 times when no one is really paying attention. I went to my neice and sister for supposedly to stay 1 1/2 weeks, I left after 5 days because I could not tolerate stress of family uproars, did the best I could then said I was leaving next day because of my pain. I hate eating because makes me sick, my sense of smell is very sensitive,as my eyes, so everything burns, no one can have perfume or candles, bleach, etc, list goes on.
      Thanks everyone for thinking of you but you are thinking of them having a good time and you don’t think your pain will allow you to join in.

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