Gratitude during the Holidays

Got Arthritis Blues? Focus on Gratitude this Season and Beyond

Embracing gratitude can make it easier to deal with family drama during the holidays. And it also may help you to manage your arthritis. Research found that thankfulness helps people feel happier and more optimistic, even when things aren’t going well.  It strengthens personal relationships and can also improve physical health.

It may also help people cope with chronic pain, says Fuschia Sirois, PhD, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. “Feeling grateful counteracts the worry, rumination and negative thoughts that can compound pain,” she says.

Not feeling it? Try these evidence-backed techniques to make gratitude your attitude:

Each day, list three things for which you feel grateful. “When gratitude becomes something you [feel] regularly in different areas in your life, you start to feel it more intensely and it tends to become a habit,” says Sirois. Make your list when you get into bed to promote restful sleep.

 Express it. “Arthritis can make you feel all alone,” Sirois says. “Telling someone why you’re grateful for them can help you recognize that people are there for you.”

 Ask what others are grateful for. Hearing what friends and family appreciate makes it easier to find those things in your own life, says Sirois. “Gratitude is a social emotion. It can be powerful to hear what others are thankful for and to share the things for which you are grateful.” – E. Delzell

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