As the leaves change colors and fall off the trees and the temperatures drop, most of us cannot help but think of what makes us grateful. Gratitude does seem to go hand and hand with turkey and mashed potatoes and all the other holiday traditions. According to dictionary.com, gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Being part of the chronic illness community, I feel this is one of the loveliest qualities we possess and need to hold onto.
A Genuine Feeling
Gratitude outshines all other emotions. So much so that when you experience it, your smile and eyes shine with genuineness. Hopefully everyone has experienced this feeling at some point in their lives. Close your eyes and imagine one time when you were so thankful and genuinely happy. You may have smiled so hard that your cheeks had gone numb from being so overwhelmed from your love and joy. That moment may have been so touching that even still to this current moment, you cannot come up with the appropriate words to express your thankfulness or gratitude.
I would like to think that most of us experience gratitude daily in even the simplest of things. Some of my daily moments of gratitude are from my dog Lacie, my nephews and family, and when someone holds the door for me. When that happens, I light up and will very excitedly yell ‘thank you!’ out of my appreciation for them and their small act. That moment will usually make my day, and the person may never even understand why I shouted thank you so quickly, but I hope they do.
Tracking Your Gratitude
If you wanted to, you could keep a little journal to help track and find what you are grateful for. In the morning you could write down one or more things you are grateful for or how you will make today great. You could even include a positive affirmation. During your nighttime routine you can write down a good deed or two that you did that day or even some great experiences you had. Of course, you can mix and match or find even more ideas online for doing a gratitude journal if it is something that interests you.
I wish you all the happiest and warmest of holiday seasons to you and your loved ones.
*waves* Hi MS community, my name is Kelly and I am an intern at the MSAA for the fall semester. I’ll be graduating in the spring with my Associates degree in Human Services. I’ve been disabled now for about 13 years, since I was 17 years old. I am a type 1 Diabetic, and have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum, plus a few other diseases. I use a walker or cane daily. My hobbies include advocating for the disabled, playing video games, and lounging with my dog.