Finding Gratitude With Chronic Illness

November is a time of giving thanks so today I ask you, what are you thankful for?

If nothing instantly comes to your mind, take a moment to pause. Get yourself a notebook and pen, now just see if you can think of three things to write down. Even if we feel that we are having the worst day imaginable, we can certainly think of three forms of gratitude to take note of. It is by acknowledging the small things that make tomorrow that much easier.

Now, read your list aloud and allow it to sink it. You perhaps have three things on your list that someone else in this world is praying for, wishing for or begging for. Be thankful that this is your list, your life and your reality. Why do we wait until thanksgiving to give thanks when we can make it a part of our everyday life?

You don't have to have everything you've ever dreamed about nor everything on your vision board to feel thankful. You don't have to wait until your greatest achievements have been a success in order to practice being thankful for what you do have. Your life doesn't have to be perfect for you to be thankful in the here and now.

I am grateful for chronic illness, for it has led me to some of the most wonderful people and friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. Illness despite its many negative connotations has led me to connections, compassion, kindness, hope, encouragement, love, laughter, support and strength.

I am grateful for family and friends, for they make the really tough moments of illness that much more bearable, light hearted and enjoyable. These people build me up, keep me hopeful and never allow me to give up when the road ahead seems like an uphill battle. They help me to help myself each and everyday.

I am grateful to be one year older, wiser, healthier this thanksgiving. I am thankful for the person I am becoming, for that person fights for a better life each and everyday.

I am grateful to my body, for it is my home that does its best for me each and everyday.

I am grateful to be alive and have the vision to see the seasonal changes, to see the leaves change colour and the nights get darker this Autumn.

I am grateful for my ability to put words on paper, I am grateful that my mind functions in ways that allow me to express myself eloquently with words. I am thankful to have a skill that comes with ease that I can use to help others as well as myself.

I never really understood the power of gratitude until I realised I was focusing on all of the wrong places and therefore, overlooking what I had to be thankful for in the here and now. Writing just a few moments, a few people or just random parts of my life down on paper allows me to feel more abundant and rich than it would if those thoughts stayed in my mind. Even if you think you have the right to be ungrateful, there is a way you can spin it on its head to give you an instant boost.

So, if you are struggling to feel thankful for much this thanksgiving, write yourself a list, keep writing until you can't think of anything else to add on your page. Read back your blessings aloud and be thankful for this moment, for this moment is your life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Nancy is a chronic illness/ disability writer, blogger and advocate from Sussex, U.K. who encourages and raises awareness for those in similar situations.

Where to find Nancy:

#chronicillness #mentalhealth #invisibleillness #thanksgiving #chronicpain

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