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How Being Thankful Helped Me Through Tough Times With Illness

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A number of years ago, I had become very sick. I had test after test and the doctors were not able to discover what was going on. Two of the many symptoms were a lack of appetite and severe sleep disruptions. I was really getting to the end of my rope.

Although the doctors had been of no help, things were getting so bad that I returned to the emergency room at our local hospital. I was desperate for any relief.


The doctor who was on call believed my symptoms were the result of depression. He was actually wrong. Although I was feeling down about my health, I actually had a disease called sarcoidosis.

Putting aside his incorrect diagnosis, he did provide some help. He brought in a mental health nurse to talk to me about what was going on. It was during that visit that she changed my life forever.

The nurse suggested I keep a journal and that every night I write down something I was thankful for. I admitted to her I have tried journaling in the past and I was never able to keep it going for long. I was terrible at journaling, but I was passionate about blogging. I could see how I could adapt her idea to my blogging activity.

I went home and began a daily routine of writing a Good News post on my blog. Sometimes the post was something big, such as major accomplishments by our children or a fun time away with my wife. Other times, it was simply that I was still breathing. I was always honest about how easy or how difficult it was to find some Good News for that day.

Although this was originally recommended as a way to deal with depression, it continued to benefit me as my correct diagnosis was revealed. Physical and mental health are closely connected and the more I focused on the positive, the quicker my health improved.

I need to be clear that I began Good News posting purely for my own benefit. I needed to remind myself that there was more going on in my life than just my health struggles.

However, I began to receive messages from people who were reading my blog. My Good News posts were actually getting more hits than the other posts I thought were most interesting. Apparently, my attempts to find the good in the bad were inspiring other people. Some people told me they looked forward to reading my Good News each night.

I no longer do a daily Good News post. My health has improved significantly, both physically and mentally. Yet, I have not given up on my Good News blogging. I now write a Good News post every Sunday night as a way to keep a thankful perspective. I don’t care if anyone else reads it. It continues to be a reminder that there is always something to be thankful for.

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Thinkstock photo via KucherAV.

Originally published: June 22, 2017
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