I hope all my American readers have a wonderful holiday filled with family (biological or chosen), friends, and happiness. As for us, we’ll be spending the day with most of our kids, and some good friends.
For me, Thanksgiving is a time remember to focus on the good things in my life. I tend to be more of a natural pessimist, and I’ve had to teach myself to actively look for the positive in each and every situation in my life. Every year at Thanksgiving I recommit myself to spending the next year finding, and focusing on, the good and giving minimal attention and energy to those things which *seem* bad. Sometimes it’s not easy to find the good in everything. But it’s important to look.
One good example of this is the Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis I deal with on a daily basis. Let’s face it, chronic illness can be difficult to deal with. It can leave you feeling like an outsider in your own life. But, giving in to those feelings makes it difficult to find your personal path to healing. And I honestly believe that we ALL have a personal path to healing. In order to find that path, you must be able to see the lessons in the illness, the lessons and blessings brought to you by family, friends and situations in your life.
Remind yourself to look past the difficulty you experience in day-to-day activities due to your chronic illness, look past the financial hardship that chronic illness can bring, feel past the physical pain, isolation, and frustration that accompanies many chronic illness. Focus on what you CAN do, even if it seems small.
Did you get out of bed this morning? Were you able to check your email? Did you speak to a loved one in-person, over the phone, through email or text? Those are accomplishments to be celebrated. Take a moment to feel gratitude and thankfulness for those things. When you expend energy to a thing or situation it tends to multiply. Choose to spend your energy on feeling thankful, it will help you increase the number of things you have to be thankful for as well increase the amount of energy you have.
I understand if it feels weird or you think it’s “new age whoo whoo” stuff. There was a time I felt that way too. There was a time when I didn’t believe that my attitude effected my health. Thankfully, someone convinced me I was wrong, and I started paying a small amount of attention to my attitude. That small change in my attitude led to small changes in my physical health that I couldn’t ignore. Simple things, like feeling less pain in my feet, or experiencing fewer muscle spasms. I remember celebrating being able to make out somebody’s face across the room. I also remember the joy I felt when I regained the ability to read my computer screen with the resolution increased. Those small changes led to bigger acceptance of the good in everything, and bigger health gains.
I firmly believe that without those small attitude shifts, I would not have recovered my ability to function. No matter where you live in the word, whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this week or not, focus on celebrating your accomplishments. Whether it’s dressing yourself, walking from your bedroom to living room, holding a fork, or simply enduring another day– celebrate and be thankful for what you can do, and be thankful for the people in your life.
And, remember, be selective as to what you give your energy to. Energy multiples circumstances.