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Lupus Coping Corner

Giving Thanks Gives Health a Boost

Jessica Rowshandel, M.S.W.
Amy Caron
Project Director
Lupus Research Institute

It’s the end of the year and November and December mark our season of giving thanks. Giving thanks is as important for our overall happiness as it is for coping with chronic illnesses of any kind. I’m sure we could all name everything that is going wrong in our lives much easier than what is going right. And when it comes to coping with lupus, remembering the good things in your life is not only good for overall happiness, but it is a matter of health. Doctors say over and over again that it is important to keep stress levels as low as possible since stress can trigger lupus flares. Keeping a gratitude journal is a very tangible and simple way to help us remember that even in the midst of life’s challenges, we all have things to be grateful for — big or small.

There are many ways to keep a gratitude journal. You could keep a journal to describe your day, making a conscious effort to highlight the things that went right or that you are thankful for. It can be as simple as listing 3–5 things in a notebook before bedtime. Taking the few minutes to make this short and simple list can help you end the day thinking about what is going right in your life, instead of what is going wrong.

And this isn’t all a matter of opinion. University of California – Davis has put together a summary of research findings that show that people who keep gratitude journals (or implement “gratitude interventions”) have an overall greater sense of well being.

I am grateful that the internet provides a seemingly endless list of opportunities to keep track of your gratitude from websites that provide you with free opportunities to keep online journals, to a simple how-to page if you want to keep a journal in a notebook, to an entire website put out by the University of California – Berkeley about living a happy and meaningful life. And yes! There is even an app for that. For 99 cents you can purchase a gratitude journal phone app.

What are you thankful for, lately?

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Lupus Coping Corner

Disclaimer: The information provided by the S.L.E Lupus Foundation is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a medical or mental illness, nor be a substitute for professional care. Consult your healthcare provider if you have or suspect you may have a medical or mental health problem.

Amy Caron, MPH is a lupus patient and Project Director of the Lupus Research Institute provider education initiative.  She is not a physician or counselor.  The suggestions shared in this column are strictly opinions from the perspective of a lay person with lupus. Lupus is a very individualized illness; consult a healthcare professional before making any decisions about your care.

The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation does not provide any direct medical or psychological services nor recommend or endorse any particular treatment or therapy. The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation employees, consultants, and agents shall not be liable for any claims or damages, and expressly disclaim all liability of any nature for any action or non-action taken as a result of the information generated by the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation programs and its website, as well as the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Facebook and Twitter pages.