Finding Gratitude with Autoimmune Disease
Finding gratitude with autoimmune disease….is it even possible??
What does it even look like??
In this article and video, I am sharing how I learned to find gratitude while living with autoimmune disease at my rock bottom.
Further, I share how and why I started my practice, what I struggled with, how it helped me, and what my gratitude practice looks like today!
How and Why I Started a Daily Gratitude Practice
During my rock bottom, I no longer felt like me.
I found myself consumed physically by my autoimmune symptoms. Worse still, I felt emotionally and mentally consumed by my fears and countless “what ifs?” I struggled daily to think past and see past my symptoms.
At just 36 years old at the time, I found myself asking questions like:
- What if I never feel better again?
- What if the doctor is wrong and there’s something worse wrong with me?
- What if I can’t find it in me to make lasting nutrition and lifestyle changes so I can feel better?
- What if my husband leaves me because I’m too much to handle?
- What if all my kids remember of me is that I am always sick in bed?
- What if I keep getting worse?
- What if I change my eating and lifestyle and find wellness only to fall off the wagon and land myself at rock bottom again?
Despite my best efforts, I wrestled with endless questions and felt overwhelmed by my fears…even though I kept praying and reading my scriptures. I needed to find a way to retrain my brain and learn to refocus my thoughts.
One of the things I decided to do everyday that helped me with just that? A daily written gratitude practice.
Taking just a few minutes in the morning and writing down a list of 5-10 things I am grateful for.
I know it sounds so simple. It did to me to. So simple I almost didn’t try it and almost wrote it off completely.
I cannot express to you how glad I am that I gave it a chance. Taking a few minutes every morning and stopping to think “Okay, Shanna, I know you are living through one of the hardest times of your life and I know you feel broken and I know you are mourning your old life, but what can you feel grateful for right now, this very minute??” truly helped me.
How My Gratitude Practice Helped Me
My gratitude practice helped me learn to see past my horrible physical symptoms and realize I still had so many blessings to be thankful for.
It helped me start to retrain my thought process. Further, it helped me break through my daily cycle of negativity and let in some light while finding positivity. Granted, very small amounts at first which grew in time.
A funny thing also happened. I found my morning feelings of gratitude to have a snowball effect into the rest of my day.
Further, finding gratitude each day brought me hope. I felt empowered. If one little habit could help me feel so much better inside, what other habits could I create to do the same?
Maybe I really could pick up the pieces and rebuild my life into something beautiful. And that’s exactly what I did.
You can too. No matter how negative you feel today. No matter how consumed you feel by your symptoms. No matter how overwhelmed you feel by your fears and countless “what if”s.
There IS hope.
Start small, but start today.
How to Start a Daily Gratitude Practice
Simply write down a list of at least 5 things you are grateful for.
Do not skip the most important part – write them down!
I’ve known fellow autoimmune warriors who will not do this simple task. They write it off. Yet they’ll spend loads of money on supplements and ask me for nutrition advice.
Here’s the thing. Keeping a daily gratitude journal is a tool that can help us find joy and light and positivity in a difficult and dark situation.
The best part? It’s FREE!
AND it only takes a couple of minutes per day!
I invite you to give it a try! You can just use a blank piece of paper, a spiral notebook, or pick up a journal at Walmart (my local Walmart carries some for under $2).
Make it Easy on Yourself
Keep your gratitude journal or page on your nightstand, so you remember your gratitude practice first thing in the morning.
One trick to develop new habits is to add the new habit to a habit you already have.
For example, if you have a habit of waking up to an alarm clock, and turning off the alarm clock, right after you turn off your alarm, sit up in bed and write down five things you are grateful for.
Or keep your gratitude journal on your bathroom counter by your tooth brush, so you remember to write in it right after you brush your teeth.
Or keep your gratitude journal by your morning tea cup, and write in your journal as you sip your tea.
Whatever is easiest for you. Set yourself up for success!
What Does My Gratitude Practice Look Like Today?
I kept my gratitude journaling very simple for several months, if not years.
Fast forward to today, I now use a journal every morning called the Start Today journal. Not only is there is a spot to write down five things I am grateful for, there is an area to write down dreams and goals as well. I write in my Start Today journal as part of my daily morning routine.
Sending You Lots of Love and Support
Please know I am sending you loads of love and support.
I know this life with autoimmune disease and Hashimoto’s is so hard.
It can feel so lonely, frustrating, and fearful.
That’s okay. It is, because there’s a way through the fear, heartbreak, loneliness, and frustration.
It can start with something as small as a daily gratitude practice.
Give it a try.
You’ll be so glad you did.
LINKS I MENTION IN FINDING GRATITUDE WITH AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE VIDEO
VIDEO NOTES FOR FINDING GRATITUDE WITH AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
00:45 Why I started a gratitude practice (brace yourself…it’s not pretty)
02:49 How I started my gratitude practice
04:09 How my gratitude practice helped me at my rock bottom
06:40 How to start today / why it’s important to write it down
07:50 Trick for developing a new habit like a gratitude practice
08:40 Where I am at with my gratitude practice today
09:14 The journal I use every day
10:40 One of the hardest parts of finding gratitude with autoimmune disease
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