In this blog, I share how I use a gratitude journal to keep me counting my blessings, not my stressors.
As the sun is setting earlier and the sunny days are getting shorter, I am refocusing on a great strategy that I use to avoid getting down during this darker time of the year, my gratitude journal.
One of the major strategies I use to keep my mood uplifted through the darker time of the year is writing down all the things I that make me feel grateful.
Gratitude is noticing.
Witnessing all that I have to be grateful for on paper helps me when I may experience the feelings of nervousness or despair. I commonly find these same thinking patterns in my patients because discouragement often results from living with a vestibular disorder.
My perspective on life shifts as I write in my gratitude journal, because the things that are wonderful move to the forefront of my mind.
Cultivating gratitude on purpose helps me focus on what is good in my life, not on the problems or concerns that I might face.
In a scientific study, a group of people were asked to a keep a weekly Gratitude Journal, while another group recorded life’s hassels or neutral life events. The study found that “a weekly benefit listing was associated with more positive and optimistic appraisals of one’s life, more time spent exercising, and fewer reported physical symptoms.”
In the same study, when people with a neuromuscular disorder were asked to keep a gratitude journal, they found it resulted in “greater levels of positive affect, more sleep, better sleep quality, and greater optimism and a sense of connectedness to others.”
I know I begin to feel better when I focus on what I have to be grateful for, so I was not surprised at all to read the results of this study showed a more positive outlook on life and greater optimism. The results that did surprise me were that the researchers found gratitude journaling led to improved sleep quality, fewer reported physical symptoms and more time spent exercising.
Interesting! I am in.
To get more detailed, I can begin to feel grateful for my two legs, my eyes, my hands, my kidneys, my beating heart, my straight teeth… and the list goes on.
When I slow down and “notice,” I can come up with a huge list of things that I am grateful for today.
If you are someone who is living with a vestibular disorder, or you are suffering from dizziness, vertigo or imbalance, I invite you to join me in focusing on all that you have to be grateful for today. I believe this strategy will help prevent you from going down a negative emotional spiral of confusion, nervousness, despair, hopelessness and, in extreme cases, loss of the will to live that are all too common among those living with vestibular disorders.
In the past, I have also used other strategies such as mental health counseling, medication, and prayer to lift myself out of difficult emotional times.
Once I remember to notice my blessings, I also thank God for them.
“Rejoice always… give thanks in all circumstances…” – I Thessalonians 5:16-17 (NIV)
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of the case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that I might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.