On Difficult Days With MS, Try Shifting Your Focus to Gratitude

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by Jessie Ace |

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We often focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do. This doesn’t just apply to our relationships, but to everything: our carers, our careers, our children, our homes, our cars, etc. 

I often hear people wishing they had more: 

“I wish I had more money.”

“I wish my legs worked better.”

“I wish my house were bigger.” 

We make these comments without realizing it. But wishing for these things won’t make them appear — you have to do something to make them happen. I’m not saying you can suddenly make your body work how it’s supposed to, but can you say you’ve tried everything in your power?

When those people, limbs, places, carers, and handouts get taken away, we realize their importance in our lives.

It’s so easy to focus on what is wrong and wish that things were better. What if we tried being grateful for what we have right now instead of focusing on what we don’t?

Let’s take the examples above and think about how we can flip them into positive statements: 

“I wish I had more money.”

Instead, you could say, “I could have more money, but I am grateful I have everything I need.” 

“I wish my legs worked better.” 

Instead, you could say, “My legs don’t work like they once did, but I’m grateful the rest of me has become healthier because of it.”

“I wish I had a bigger house.”

Instead, you could say, “My house is smaller than I’d like, but I’m grateful to have a warm, safe place to live.” 

Those of us with chronic illnesses tend to do this a lot, myself included. We get so wrapped up in how bad we feel, how much pain we’re in, or how exhausted we are that we forget to be grateful for all that’s still good in our lives. 

For example, today I feel terrible. I’m exhausted, tingling, and have pain shooting down my neck intermittently, and all I can think about is how much multiple sclerosis sucks. So, today, I am putting myself first and resting. 

If you’re having one of those “I just wish things were different” days, try the exercise above and think about what you already have that you’re grateful for. 

Instead of “I wish this pain would stop,” try thinking, “I am grateful for this pain because it reminds me that I am still human. It reminds me that I have strength and resilience to cope with this. I have a justified reason to rest and take the day for myself.” 

We have a saying in our house whenever something bad happens. We say, “Why is this a good thing? What is it teaching me?”

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This 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. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

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