Living with chronic pain can make giving thanks difficult. Pain can interfere with many aspects of life and you may have experienced a number of losses. You may even have gotten into the habit of feeling more resentful than thankful. But, if you take the time to notice, you may find that there are relationships, activities, and experiences to be grateful for, even though you have chronic pain.
The key to feeling grateful seems to be regularly focusing on what is positive and less on what is negative, on what you can do rather than on what you can’t do, on what you have rather than on what you don’t have, and on appreciating the small positives as well as the large. People who genuinely feel grateful on a day-to-day basis tend to cope better with pain, report greater well-being, better functioning, and less depression. The better you feel overall, the better you will manage your pain.
How Can you Make Gratitude Part of Daily Life?
You can keep a list of what you are thankful for at the end of the day or once a week. You can try to change your “mindset” so that you regularly focus on what is positive, on what you have, on what you can do, and on the small daily joys. You might try a “circle of thanks” consisting of close friends or family members in which you each share what you are thankful for on a daily or weekly basis. To help you get started, I have created a Gratitude Worksheet. Take your time and work your way slowly through the worksheet. Click here to see an example. Making gratitude a part of daily life will bring you many benefits. Good luck to you!
MAKE ME GRATEFUL
We are in GREAT need of input from 200 partners of people with chronic pain. A partner can be anyone who you view as your partner in life! Please ask him or her to complete our 2 minute anonymous survey at http://partnerpainsupport.speedsurvey.com/ I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks so much!
About the Author. Dr. Linda Ruehlman is a social/health psychologist and researcher, co-founder of Goalistics, and director of the Chronic Pain Management Program, an interactive site that helps people with chronic pain to manage their pain and live richer, more effective lives as well as Think Clearly about Depression, a self-management program for depression.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is provided as an educational and informational resource only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional psychological or medical advice.