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Daily Gratitude

Practically every magazine, website and blog in the U.S. talks about gratitude this time of year. While Thanksgiving Day and November are apt times to express all that one is thankful for, extending gratitude from a day-long or month-long practice into a daily activity brings great rewards. Personally, it is a crucial component in my endeavor to have a happy, rewarding life even with chronic migraine.

Taking advantage of every moment on migraine-free days is the easy part. The challenge is in finding nuggets of goodness of days that include a migraine attack.

The activity itself is simple: Each day, write down at least three things that you are thankful for. You can do it as the day goes along or have a short period of reflection at the end of the day, whichever you prefer. While just thinking of your list is better than nothing, writing it down (or typing it) is its own gift. It helps cement the habit and, more importantly, gives you a ready reminder of positive memories to cheer you up during bleak times.

I’ll admit that sometimes I look at my lists and think “Seriously? Emptying and reloading the dishwasher was my biggest accomplishment that week?” Unless I’m in a major funk, that pessimism gets canceled out when I remember the great books I read, the interesting conversations I had with my husband, my wonderful friends and family, or the kind messages I received from blog readers.

Whether you share your daily lists is up to you. Mine are primarily a personal tool – I admit this is partly because I’m embarrassed for “normal” people to see how little I do from day to day – though sometimes I share them with my husband. They help keep us connected when I would otherwise retreat into myself during particularly bad migraine spells.

There’s no doubt that migraine-free days are precious. But every single day, including those seemingly “lost” to migraine, is valuable. Recognizing the joy in even the worst of days shows migraine who’s boss. You can’t control whether or not you have migraine, but you can keep it from crushing your spirit.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    6 years ago

    No worries, Teri. I wouldn’t have even mentioned it had it not been relevant to the point I wanted to make. 🙂

  • jimhagen
    6 years ago

    It’s interesting how people who get a break from their headaches and those who don’t perceive things. I don’t have days that are free from headaches. I don’t have time that is not pain or discomfort influenced. Am I grateful? Yes. Do I need someone to instruct me or advise me on the virtues of gratitude? No. Has anyone who leads or moderates this website ever demanded better treatment of migraine patients and demand at the same time accountability for Doctors and other health professionals who routinely abuse and neglect headache patients. There seems to be a lot of gooch sniffing on this site in terms of sucking up to doctors and putting their perspective first over that of patients. Other Migraine sufferers die every day while we navel gaze and journal… maybe it’s past time to expose the medical industry that treats us worse than used up single ply toilet paper.

  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    6 years ago

    Jim,

    Thank you for your apology. I’m sorry you’ve been through the ringer. Please don’t discount all doctors. There are many who don’t understand migraine and how to treat it, but I was also at the AHS meeting Teri mentioned and was heartened by the compassion and dedication of the health care providers I met there.

    I do need to reply to your initial comment to say that I haven’t had a pain free moment in 25 years. After my migraine attacks steadily worsened until I was housebound and bedridden, I have finally found some relief this year. Far from navel gazing, practices like observing what I am grateful for literally kept me from committing suicide. I share the emotional aspects of my experience with migraine because I know so many other people have them, too, but feel utterly alone. If something I share provides another person with a little hope or a glimpse of better days, my time is well-spent.

    Take care of yourself. I hope you find relief from your suffering.

  • Teri-Robert
    6 years ago

    Ooops, Kerrie! Sorry I left you off the list. Really didn’t mean to. 🙁

  • Teri-Robert
    6 years ago

    Jim,

    I’m not getting any break from my headaches and Migraines these days either. And yes, several of us have been demanding better treatment on behalf of all of us. Ellen, Diana, and I just attended the American Headache Society Symposium in Arizona, and I really wish you could hear some of the conversations with those doctors – the doctors who are as concerned about good patient care as we are. They’re advocating for better care too.

    Yes, there are still health care professionals out there who need to learn more about Migraine and dealing with patients, but it’s unfair to paint the entire profession with that brush. From your second comment, I can understand why you’d tend to feel that way, but to say all doctors are like that simply isn’t accurate.

    “Gooch sniffing?” Nope. I’ve had plenty of conversations where I’ve disagreed with docs. When I disagree, I’m not afraid to say so.

    As for being reminded to be grateful, I can certainly use that reminder at times.

  • jimhagen
    6 years ago

    I’m sorry for the way I expressed my anger about how I have been treated, neglected and abused as a patient. Two years I almost lost my life and my sanity due to an adverse drug reaction and I also was abused after the poisoning. I do not feel that most drs have any sense of urgency in helping me. I wish everyone on this forum better days and I would not wish my suffering on my worst enemy… God bless… and I am sorry if I offended anyone…

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Hi Cindi,
    Thanks for the kinds words – we here at migraine.com understand how isolating migraine is and are thankful to have people like you in our community.

  • Cindi
    7 years ago

    I especially enjoy these blogs and making iFriends here because I live alone. Although I’m usually an upbeat person, I run of days with migraine will surely pull me down and it’s hard to be me. With no one here to help me stay on a mentally healthy level like you’re talking about, I come to my iFriends when I’m able. You have no idea unless you are alone like me just how much the comments and articles here help. I know I’m not alone in my struggle. I know (usually) it won’t last much longer and better days are ahead. I know I’m blessed!

  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    6 years ago

    Cindi,

    I’m so glad you find the site and the friends you’ve met helpful! I, too, find great relief in connecting with others who struggle with migraine.

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