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Tips: Gratitude in the Face of Illness
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, September 2010

It may sound like it's too much effort, but being appreciative during health crises seems to help in healing and in maintaining a positive attitude.

One thing you can do, if you are physically able, is a daily gratitude walk, paying attention to your body and being grateful for it. Here are some tips that have been offered to me from people whose major life challenges emanated from physical illness:

Give Thanks to Your Body - Treat it well. Walk every day (slowly is fine.) If you cannot walk, do a personal "body scan," paying attention to each part of your body. Acknowledge that you have a body that functions, even though some areas are diminished.

Be Grateful for Your Mind - Take a moment to acknowledge that despite your illness, your mind is able to imagine, dream, and conceptualize.

Appreciate the Healthy Parts - Be grateful for your eyes and that you can see or that you can hear. Revel in the fact that you have a natural voice and that your arms function.

Visualize Your Body's Functioning Improving - Some days will be easier than other days. Physical or emotional pain will be more or less from time to time. "See" your body feeling and performing better and believe there will be improved days ahead.

Say Thank You That You Are Alive - If you had major surgery, be grateful that you survived. If your illness is affecting some of your body while other parts function, be grateful that good medication, alternative therapies, and medical services are available to you and that you still can live a joyful, albeit different, life.

Whatever shape your body is in, become aware and feel grateful for it.

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