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Self-Care for RA: Keeping a Gratitude Journal

By Effie Koliopoulos

What is gratitude? Most of us have been taught what this is from a young age, but we sometimes can get too caught up in our everyday lives that we forget to pause and show thanks.

Gratitude is to be thankful, show appreciation for and return kindness. Now if you are living with rheumatoid arthritis you may be thinking why should I be showing gratitude? Living with a chronic illness, pain and disability isn’t something we asked for. Nobody wants to be sick. It can be hard to see the blessings in our lives and show thanks when we struggle.

So what does keeping a gratitude journal have to do with all of this? Well, a lot. There cannot be light without darkness. In every bad situation we find ourselves in, we can also find something good that is going on in our lives.

Keeping a gratitude journal doesn’t take long. It can be done at any time of the day for just a few minutes. Preferably practicing this early in the morning once you wake up and right before bed, can help you put things into perspective.

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There is no pressure that comes with it either like a, “to-do list” which can cause stress, defeat, failure and depression if we didn’t follow through with everything we wanted to do during our day. That’s why changing the wording to "setting intentions," along with a gratitude journal can help ease the pressure of completing everything. We are human after all.

So start today by writing three things you are grateful for each day, even if you had a bad day. Having a bad day, doesn’t mean it’s a bad life. Living with rheumatoid arthritis can place a foggy veil over our eyes. Though once we take the time to see what is going right, only then can we start to transform our outlook and even see those very things that were once dark turn into blessings.

There are several gratitude journals online. Amazon has several including the well-known, The Five Minute Journal.

Here is to transforming our lives for the better!