Finding Your Gratitude
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. -Melody Beattie
Begin your day with gratitude
Sometimes when we are delivered a blow, like learning that we or a loved one has lung cancer, it is hard to find reasons to be grateful. But, I believe that searching for and finding gratitude, even in the face of adversity, is vital.
I got the idea for this blog when I saw an article that highlights some of the health benefits of writing in a gratitude journal every day. The article said it works wonders, even if you only write in the journal for five minutes. The suggestion was to begin your day with your journal because if you start out your day thinking about the things for which you are grateful, it will set the tone for the rest of the day.
My strong, smiling friends
My mind wandered from the article to my friends who have lung cancer. Every single one of them is beating the odds, living three, five, ten years and more past diagnosis. Every one has stage III or IV cancer. Some of them are like me and have had a relatively easy time with their treatments and others have faced challenge after challenge throughout their journeys.
Some of my friends are young and still have children at home, while others are grandmothers like me. Most of my friends are women, but there are a smattering of men who attend the same events that I do or that I know from Facebook groups.
Short, tall, big, small ... we are as different as night and day in most areas except two. We have late-stage lung cancer and we're usually smiling.
The power of an attitude of gratitude
I have no idea whether my friends actually write in a journal every day. I am positive they don't all do so, I don't. But I can tell you that they approach life with gratitude. No matter what they're going through in life and in their treatments, they find reasons to feel blessed, grateful, fortunate. You see that spirit in every blog you read here on LungCancer.net.
So, I started wondering if there is a correlation between the fact that every person I know who is beating the odds against a fearsome foe also has a fabulous outlook on life. I'm not trying to say, by any stretch of the imagination, that people who die from this disease didn't have a good attitude, because nothing is further from the truth. It's just that those who survive do all seem to share the same "attitude of gratitude."
I don't have a medical degree. I'm not even a doctor on TV! But, I do believe that attitude plays a role in how we fare in life, even when we are facing possibly the fiercest challenge ever. At the least, approaching each day grateful for what is good in our lives, despite all that may not be so great, sets us up to have a more positive day, a happier day.
What's good in your life today?
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?