Find one small thing to be thankful for.

Try to find one small thing to be thankful for despite your situation. (Laurie Glass)


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Amid living with a chronic illness, it’s easy to complain, focus on challenges, and ruminate on losses. While there is a time to process the thoughts and feelings associated with all that an illness brings, there is also a time to be grateful. If you try to redirect your thoughts and focus on being thankful, you may find that your spirits will lift, and you may gain a bit of peace. To help you step out and develop a thankful attitude, some gratitude starters are provided below:


  • Think of something you can still do. No matter how small that something may be, start there.
  • Embrace the memories of things you did in the past while you were still able. Regarding activities you can’t do anymore, you can be grateful you did them when you could. Enjoy those memories.
  • Consider ways you may have grown since getting sick. Perhaps you are more compassionate toward people who are facing difficulties. Maybe you are more patient.
  • Appreciate anything you may have time for now that you did not have time for in the past. Perhaps you can engage in a hobby. Maybe you are now able to be home with your kids.
  • Focus on what you still have. Even if it seems there isn’t much left, there probably is someone or something in your life you especially appreciate.
  • Define any physical helps, adaptive equipment, or household gadgets that make your life easier.
  • Treasure the supportive friends, family members, or medical professionals you have in your corner. They are priceless. Focus on them when you feel alone or misunderstood.
  • Celebrate how you have persevered through this illness every day. As hard as it has been, with the Lord at your side, you have done it. Find strength in that reality when you feel like giving up.
  • Recognize improvement in even one symptom and make the most of it.
  • Acknowledge your ability to speak up for yourself in a situation where someone questioned the validity of your illness. You were in a tough spot, but with God’s help, you managed it like a champ.


When you feel tempted to complain or feel sorry for yourself, try to find one small thing to be thankful for despite your situation. This is not about pretending everything is rosy when it isn’t. The reality is that ruminating on your circumstances isn’t going to usher you toward peace.

Keep these gratitude starters handy, and add more of your own. Use them to redirect your thoughts and, over time, enjoy the growing benefits of practicing gratitude.


Watch for an upcoming article entitled “12 Gratitude Exercises.” Meanwhile, check out Chronic Joy’s printable: Celebrate the Little Things Every Day.

Happy Bubbles
Laurie Glass

Laurie Glass

Chronic Joy® Staff Writer

Laurie has a Master's Degree in Christian Counseling and is the author of Coping with ME/CFS. Many of her poems and articles have been published in print and online. She won the Open Medicine Foundation poetry contest in 2019. Laurie loves to use her gift of writing to encourage others.

Celebrate Little Things Everyday

Celebrate each small win, every tiny triumph, and every unexpected victory, even if today your milestone is just a pebble.

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