I get it. It is so hard to be grateful when things in your life aren't unfolding like you thought. The death of a loved one, loss of a job, career, and especially a cancer diagnosis. Its hard to focus on the good, when it seems like there is so much bad. So thats why I got a little help from my dear friend, Stephanie Jones, to give me a few tips....she literally wrote the book on gratitude. Oh, and by the way, I am so so grateful for her!
You are on a journey. A cancer journey and I’m so sorry for your diagnosis. I am not going to pretend for one second, I understand what you are going through or experiencing at this moment, or in the future.
But I’ve had my own battles to fight. We all have. Many of us have our own diagnosis. For me it was infertility. Years of pokes, prods, treatments that made me sick, felt like I was going crazy at times, weight gain, surgery, after surgery, and lots of aches and pains, and lack of understanding from those who had never been on my journey.
As I travel the country speaking, engaging with people on social media, and hear from listeners, those that have been diagnosed with cancer or another illness, there is a consistent pattern, those who choose to focus on a gratitude, seem to have a different attitude and perspective on where they are in life.
What I’m sharing is a conglomerate of these lessons I’ve taken in over the years. Some are mine, and some are from friends and strangers. I challenge you, as you learn to navigate your diagnosis, you use gratitude as a tool, to help you along the way.
Write it down.
Keep a pen and journal handy just for jotting down what you are grateful for. Each day write down 3-5 things you are grateful for. When you are having a bad day, pick up your journal, to help you focus on the good.
Focus on the now.
Stop yourself from saying, I’ll be grateful when (fill in the blank). Look at your surroundings, be in the moment, and find good right where you are. What I’ve discovered is, when you get to the future, you’ll have something else you’ll be chasing. Stay in the now.
Your diagnosis may or may not have slowed you down. If it hasn’t, take time to pause throughout your day, have a stop and smell the roses moment, and be grateful for what you notice when you slow down. If it has slowed you down, jot down, what you’ve noticed that maybe you didn’t realize before. Be grateful for the new discoveries.
Take note of lessons your diagnosis is teaching you about yourself. Write it down in your journal, and be grateful for God revealing to you strengths, or weaknesses, you never knew you had.
Complaining sucks the energy out of you and the people that surround you. You need all the positive energy in your life as you take on this battle. Learn to flip your complaints to words of gratitude.
Let out your emotions.
It’s perfectly normal to be sad and angry. Write about the emotions you feel, and ask yourself, in the depth of these emotions, what is there to be grateful for?
Along your journey you are going to cross paths with many people. Don’t forget to say thank you. Tell each person that is helping you along the way how grateful you are for them. If you have the energy, write them a thank you note. Be specific in nothing the ways they are helping you.
This list isn’t all inclusive, and you don’t have to do all of them, each day, every day. But as you go through your day, take time to pause, as constantly ask yourself, what can I be grateful for in this moment. The more you practice gratitude, the more it will become a habit, and the longer it’s a habit, you’ll potentially experience a life-changing mindset shift.
A great way to remind yourself to be grateful every day is to journal! Because Love has a great daily journal made just for this. Sometimes writing things down help you physically feel the emotion of gratefulness!
I wish you the best of luck on your journey and may God bring you healing beyond your greatest desires.
Stephanie L. Jones is a speaker, podcaster (Giving Your Best Life), and author of The Giving Challenge and The Gratitude Challenge. She resides in Indiana with her husband.