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Rx: Gratitude for Pain

A word that comes up for many people is gratitude. Gratitude can change you and your experience of pain. I’ve seen this happen with the chronic pain patients I’ve worked with. They embrace their situation and give thanks for the opportunity to realize what is important in their lives. Being grateful opens you up to grace or being in a state of grace. Gratitude also allows you to recognize that there is goodness in your life and that this goodness is often due to the actions of others — friends, family, doctors and their staff.

The word “grace” is often used as a divine expression — for example, the grace of God. Grace is also an elegance of action, such as walking with grace. And it can mean that we are a part of something deep and powerful and sustaining. Gratitude is a catalyst, then grace responds.

Grace, gratitude, love, friendship, humanity: These are the most important things to all of us. It’s trite but true, and it’s often realized when we’re faced with something big. Chronic pain is something big.

What good is gratitude? Gratitude has the power to heal, to energize, and to change your emotions. When you are grateful, you experience more happiness and other positive emotions. By changing your emotions, you change your experience of pain. Research also shows that grateful people are less depressed and more resilient to trauma. They believe that life is abundant, that life is a gift.

Writing exercise:

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Pick up your favorite pen, and write about the things you are most grateful for. Each day for a month, think back over your day and write down at least three different things that make you feel thankful. By doing so, you are opening yourself up to grace, positive emotions and to feeling better. Please turn the page to begin with your Create to Heal Gratitude Journal.