Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Self-Care with a Chronic Illness: Gratitude

It's Arthritis Awareness Month! This month I am challenging you to take a little time each day and practice better self-care. Each day in May, I plan to share one simple way you can show yourself some love and appreciation.

Gratitude. I believe gratitude is a like a muscle that needs to be regularly worked before it is strong. The more we find things in our everyday lives that we are grateful for, the easier and more natural gratitude becomes. 

At HappierHuman, Amit Amin, who has dealt with his own health issues, shares The 31 Benefits of Gratitude. A few of my favorite for health benefits:
  • Gratitude increases sleep quality, reduces the time required to fall asleep, and increases sleep duration. 
  • Those who engage in gratitude practices have been shown to feel less pain, go to the doctor less often, have lower blood pressure, and be less likely to develop a mental disorder. (I like that he recognizes gratitude and positive thinking won't cure any health conditions.)
  • Gratitude and vitality are strongly correlated – the grateful are much more likely to report physical and mental vigor.
For me, I reflect each night before bed on what went right with my day. I started this practice when my children were little. I learned from them that it isn't the big things that we experience but instead the small everyday experiences that make life worth living.