Gratitude is a powerful tool. This is true for everyone, but especially essential for those dealing with chronic illness. Find the extra shot of strength you need from the following 15 inspirational quotes.
Events in life are frequently overwhelming. When you throw chronic or mental illness into the mix, it can be downright unbearable.
However, even when physical strength fails you, power can be regained by changing your mindset. Choosing gratitude helps you to make this shift.
It’s easy to forget about gratitude when there’s a lot happening. The following inspiring quotes will help you to remember to keep gratitude in its rightful place.
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15 Quotes to Inspire Gratitude
1. Make a Choice
“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
Gratitude is a choice. It’s a conscious decision to look for the good in the world and in your life.
Living with chronic illness robs you of so much. Time with family and friends may be limited or of lower quality than you would like. Anxiety and depression can make you want to never leave your bedroom. Constant pain often dampens any inner fire you may have had.
Still, even on the darkest of days, gratitude can help you to see the light left in the world around you.
Tuesdays With Morrie, by Mitch Albom, is an excellent example of dealing with life’s difficulties with a grateful attitude. The true story recounts the last years of Professor Morrie Schwartz’s life told through weekly visits with a previous student. Professor Schwartz was diagnosed with ALS, but never let his chronic illness take away his positive spirit.
One of my favorite parts of Tuesdays With Morrie is how Morrie continues to find solace in his declining health in the simple fact that he could still wipe his own behind. When he lost that ability, he was grateful to have someone that could do it for him.
ALS is an especially awful disease. I lost both my grandmother and aunt to it. As it progresses, it takes every vestige of hope and dignity from its victim.
Yet, despite everything that ALS took from him, Morrie chose each day to find a reason to be grateful.
There are reasons to be thankful all around you. If you can’t think of any yet, read on. One of the following quotes may be the epiphany you need.
2. Start Small
“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
If finding gratitude is a struggle for you, start small. Right now, at this moment, what is one thing you like? Is it the sun or rain outside? Could it be the pie you know you will reward yourself with after dinner? Are you cuddled up with your favorite pillow or in your favorite chair?
Each of those seemingly small things is a reason to be grateful. Personally, I thank God every day for my simple home, my comfortable recliner with both heat and massage functions, and the micro-plush sheets that keep me warm and comfy even on the coldest nights.
Look around the room you are in right now, or if you are blind, feel around the area where you are. What’s right next to you that you can be thankful for? Did you find anything? Don’t forget it. That person, place, or thing is your first step to accessing the power of gratitude.
3. Look Backwards
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
Sometimes the things we are coping with make it especially difficult to find a reason to be grateful. Years ago, I lost my best friend suddenly in a horrific car accident. For weeks and months after, it was very hard to find any reason to express gratitude.
Considerable time has passed, and now I can see clearly the reasons to be grateful. I still miss my friend each and every day. Even so, I am incredibly thankful for the time that she was part of my life. She taught me to be a better person, some lessons that I am only now realizing years later.
It’s okay if today gratitude feels out of reach. If at all possible, think back to people or events from your past that you can be grateful for now.
4. Look Where You Are
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley
Many people spend their entire lives striving to find happiness. When you have a chronic illness, it can be hard at times to summon enough energy to just find the kitchen. Believe me, I know that all too well.
Fortunately, gratitude is not something that requires effort. Who do you love? How many people love you? Do you have a faithful pet?
Everything that you love is a reason to be grateful. Everyone that loves you is double the reason.
5. Demonstrate by Action
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
You don’t have express gratitude in words. Your cat knows that you are grateful for her because you pet her and give her a safe place to live and food to eat. My cat knows I am grateful by the elaborate bed I bought for her to sleep in.
Since acts of gratitude are so simple, what other ways can you demonstrate your thankfulness? Do you have a caregiver helping you out? Smile at them and be cooperative as they care for you. Most likely, they will express gratitude in return.
If you are relatively healthy, there are numerous ways to show people how you feel. Do something nice and unexpected for someone. It can be as simple as an “I’m thinking of you” card or text or a small gift.
Children feel loved and grateful if you take the time to listen and play with them. Show them that you are grateful to have them in your life by showering quality time upon them.
6. Be Transformed
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
Finding gratitude can literally change your world. You can choose to be unhappy because your car is older or in less than pristine condition. Or, you can choose to be grateful that it still works and enables you to get to the places you need to go.
It’s the same car. The only thing that changes is how you look at it.
This is true for anything and everything in your life.
I hate going to the doctor. I’m sure that I am not alone as many mental illness warriors feel this way. In fact, I hate everything about going to the doctor, from waiting for too long in uncomfortable chairs to getting up on the scale to be reminded that I have not lost the weight that I promised I would.
Something Good Happened
There are lots of reasons to be miserable about going to the doctor.
That said, I am incredibly grateful for the medical clinic that helps care for me. After decades of being sick with no one able to figure out why an internist in my medical group was able to diagnose me with Familial Mediterranean Fever.
The most amazing thing about the diagnosis is that no one in the entire clinic had ever heard of the disease before me. Perplexed by my ongoing symptoms, the internist took my medical file home with him one weekend (yes, they still had paper files just a couple years ago), and poured over the entire contents. Completely by surprise, he stumbled across a possible diagnosis. Further tests proved it was the right diagnosis.
Every day I am grateful to my doctors for this gift. I have validation and the proof I’m not crazy (well, not just crazy), but that for years there has really been something physically wrong with me.
So now, I happily sit in those awful waiting room chairs and for as long as it takes. Gratitude has changed the whole experience for me.
7. Move Forward
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” – Brian Tracy
Maintaining a proper mindset will help you to cope with even the most challenging of situations. It’s the whole “is the glass half empty or half full?” scenario.
Patients that have been through a stroke or a disabling accident frequently struggle with depression because they are not improving as fast they would like. Again, there are two ways to look at things.
One, you can become fixated on all the things you can’t do.
Two, you can focus on the things you’ve accomplished so far and the ways your body has already healed.
When there’s a situation to overcome that will take considerable time, be sure to celebrate every small victory. Were you able to move a portion of your body that you couldn’t before? Have you had bandages, casts or drains removed? Is there any increase in strength?
Those are all wins. Celebrate them.
Focusing on the areas where you have improved helps you to realize that you are making progress. True, progress may be slow, but it’s still progress.
The turtle may not be the first one to reach a party, but he will eventually get there. So will you.
There’s more. Continue on and read Part 2 for eight more gratitude quotes.