How Gratitude Helped me Grow and Stay Positive

I really like this whole Universe thing. It is free from the confines of talking about a specific religion, place, time, person…everything. It is all-encompassing and uniting. I see everyone with psoriasis as my sister and brother, so this works for me even if it makes me sound a bit hippy.

This year I came across the concept of asking the Universe for things I want, but asking the universe to take psoriasis out of the general population seemed a bit unrealistic. As I experienced my first bout of depression recently (associated with my psoriasis), I thought embracing gratitude would be a good start.

Embracing gratitude

By good start, I mean a good starting place because when I started the whole gratitude thing, I was terrible at it. Every morning I tried to be grateful for three things when I woke up- before I got out of bed. These three things ended up being the same every morning. Caffeine, the health of my children and the internet. Every morning.

Then I got better at it. It turns out it doesn't need to be this whole event in itself, being grateful for things as they occur is just as good. The smell of warm bread, the sticky kiss from a toddler, the thank you message someone sent you unexpectedly. I found that this helped the negative thoughts I was having - and noticing the small special things every day helps clarify those things that are important in life. Even if you have to hide in the bathroom to do it (for me that's with a cup of tea and dark chocolate).

Thankful for an online community

The other thing that gratitude helps me with is making decisions. Now I know what I am grateful for, I can make more informed decisions about how I spend my time. This is how gratitude links into the whole Universe thing. I realized that I was grateful for the men and women who take time out of their lives to write about psoriasis on the internet. This is because I have a terrible relationship with my dermatologist and have no psoriatic friends in my local area to talk to about psoriasis. People writing online about their experiences help me make more informed decisions, they help me feel normal, and so they help me ask for help and be more open.

How gratitude changed my life

Showing gratitude is how I ended up talking to you today. I was grateful for the information online, and I wanted to give back. I had been tweeting about psoriasis for some time but had not thought of myself as a writer. Writing about psoriasis was a gradual thing, I was approached by the European Medical Journal initially, and in truth, I was not ready and ignored it, even though the Universe was trying to give me a gentle shove in the right direction.

It was not until Instagram banned the psoriasis hashtag earlier in the year that I ended up writing. I was so outraged at this infringement that I pitched journalists at local news outlets, and I got back in contact with the EMJ. I ended up writing a piece called The Impact of Social Media on Psoriasis Care and enjoyed it so much I started to write more. There is so much about psoriasis I had not realized existed. The entire field of psychodermatology for a start.

Thanking the universe

I still show gratitude for the internet every day, and for caffeine. Without the internet, I would be unable to work from home, and caffeine helps me feel brighter when I start to feel down.

What would you ask the universe for? Do you think showing gratitude would help you get there? I think it would- even if it does make me sound a little bit out there.

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