Practicing Gratitude: Grateful Despite Migraine

Practicing gratitude

Practicing Gratitude: What are you Thankful for Despite Migraine?While practicing gratitude might not directly treat migraine, it can contribute to a more positive mental state, better stress management, and improved overall well-being. This can indirectly impact the experience of dealing with migraine. Practicing gratitude might not alleviate the physical symptoms of migraine, but it can positively impact management and quality of life.

I am thankful and grateful despite living with migraine. My chronic illness has made me a thankful person in general.  I’m grateful when I’m not in my dark quiet room.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not in pain, but if I’m good enough to be out of bed, I count that as a blessing. I have found that this is a helpful coping strategy that benefits my overall health. Practicing gratitude is a self-care strategy that is an ongoing process for me. Living with migraine can be very difficult on mental health and I use it to help manage this aspect of my health.

[UPDATED: 11/20/2023]

Benefits of Practicing Gratitude and Migraine

Practicing Gratitude What are you Thankful for Despite Migraine

  1. Stress Reduction: Gratitude practices have been linked to reduced stress levels. Stress is a common trigger for migraine, so managing stress through gratitude techniques may help in potentially reducing the frequency or intensity of migraine attacks.
  2. Improved Coping Mechanisms: Gratitude can enhance coping mechanisms. It might not eliminate migraine, but it could assist in coping with the challenges they present, fostering a more positive mindset even in the midst of pain.
  3. Enhanced Emotional Well-being: Migraine can be emotionally draining. Practicing gratitude can promote positive emotions, which can serve as a counterbalance to the negative impact of chronic pain, improving overall emotional well-being.
  4. Better Doctor-Patient Relationships: Expressing gratitude towards healthcare providers can enhance communication and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. This might lead to more effective treatment plans or a better understanding of migraine triggers and management strategies.
  5. Sense of Control: Gratitude practices can instill a sense of control. While migraine can feel unpredictable, gratitude helps individuals focus on what they can control, like self-care practices or lifestyle adjustments that might mitigate migraine triggers.

How to Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is a habit that takes time to develop. Starting with small, consistent efforts can lead to a greater sense of appreciation for life’s blessings.

  1. Gratitude Journaling: Dedicate time each day to write down things you’re thankful for. It could be as simple as appreciating a sunny day or a kind gesture from a friend.
  2. Mindfulness and Meditation: Focus on the present moment and acknowledge the things you’re grateful for in your life. Meditation can help foster a sense of gratitude by grounding you in the here and now. I have enjoyed this virtual mindfulness series with my kids.
  3. Expressing Appreciation: Take the time to thank people in your life—friends, family, colleagues—for their support, kindness, or contributions.
  4. Finding Silver Linings: Even in challenging situations, try to find something positive or a lesson learned. This shift in perspective can foster gratitude.
  5. Acts of Kindness: Engage in acts of kindness towards others. Sometimes, helping someone else can bring a sense of gratitude and fulfillment.
  6. Reflection: Take moments throughout the day to reflect on things you might usually take for granted, like having a roof over your head or access to clean water.
  7. Gratitude Walks or Nature Time: Spend time outdoors and appreciate the beauty of nature. It’s a great way to reconnect with gratitude.
  8. Creating Rituals: Establish rituals that remind you to be grateful, whether it’s saying thanks before meals or reflecting before bedtime.

Practicing Gratitude Can Have Profound Effects on Mental Health

Mental Health

Cultivating gratitude can create a ripple effect, positively impacting various aspects of mental health and contributing to a more fulfilling and resilient mindset.

  1. Shift in Perspective: Gratitude encourages a shift from focusing on what’s lacking to appreciating what’s present. This change in perspective can reduce feelings of negativity and enhance the overall outlook on life.
  2. Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Regularly acknowledging gratitude has been linked to lower levels of stress and anxiety. It helps in calming the mind and promoting relaxation.
  3. Increased Resilience: Grateful individuals often exhibit greater resilience when facing challenges. They tend to bounce back more easily from adversity due to their ability to find positives in difficult situations.
  4. Improved Relationships: Expressing gratitude strengthens relationships. When you show appreciation, it fosters a sense of connection and trust, enhancing social bonds.
  5. Enhanced Emotional Well-being: Grateful individuals often experience higher levels of positive emotions like joy, happiness, and contentment. This contributes to an overall sense of well-being.
  6. Better Sleep: Gratitude practices have been linked to improved sleep quality. When you focus on positive aspects of your day before bedtime, it can help in relaxing the mind and promoting better sleep.
  7. Boosted Self-Esteem: Acknowledging things you’re grateful for can boost self-esteem and self-worth. It helps in recognizing your strengths and the positive aspects of your life.
  8. Increased Optimism: Gratitude cultivates a more optimistic outlook, allowing individuals to see possibilities and opportunities even in challenging situations.

Practicing Gratitude Reciprotates Positivity

Practicing gratitude

These qualities form the foundation of gratitude, fostering a mindset that appreciates, acknowledges, and reciprocates the positive aspects of life.

Appreciation

Gratitude involves recognizing and acknowledging the good things, big or small, that happen in one’s life. It’s about appreciating the positive aspects of life, relationships, experiences, or even challenges.

    1. I’m grateful for my third child, who came to me first, my amazing dog.  She’s so much more than a dog, she gives me love that a human can’t and is one of my strongest therapies. (My dog my nurse my love)
    2. As always I am thankful for my family.  My parents, my in-laws, my sister, and beyond are my rocks.  You don’t get to pick your family, but if I had the choice, I’d choose them.
    3. The people that I have chosen and am so thankful for are my friends.  They are people who could have walked away from our friendships because of my illness.  Most of my best friends have seen me in a lot of pain, throw up, packed me in ice, and have had me cancel my plans due to my migraines.  But they love me, dry heaves and all.   I’m thankful to have the most loving, supportive, funny, intelligent, and amazing women as my friends. They are great examples to my children of what true friendship means.

Recognition of Source

Gratitude often involves acknowledging the source of the goodness in one’s life. Whether it’s a person, a situation, nature, or a higher power, gratitude involves recognizing where the kindness, support, or positive experience originates.

Desire to Give Back

Gratitude often inspires a desire to give back or pay it forward. When someone feels grateful, there’s a natural inclination to spread kindness, be generous, or help others in some way as a way of expressing thanks for the goodness received.

    1. I’m grateful for the migraine community and My Migraine Life.  My life and confidence, once again, changed when I began my blog.  Fellow sufferers are so powerful in their words and encouragement and I am confident that it has saved and improved lives.  We have laughed and cried together while sharing stories, advocating for foundations, and taking steps toward greater health.

Thankful for My Support System

  1. I’m thankful for many people who love me for just who I am.  I have had to weed out the people who don’t understand but isn’t that life and maturity?  I’m at an age now where my confidence is at its highest.  I know who I am and have surrounded myself with people who truly deserve my time.  I can be knocked down and dragged out by a migraine attack at any moment so I don’t waste my time with people who don’t make me happier or feel better.
  2. I’m thankful for cuddling with my husband and eating dessert while we watch our favorite TV show.  It’s the small things in life that count and I’m so thankful that I get to spend my life with him.  Waking up to his face allows me to put one foot in front of the other during my worst days and if I can’t walk, he’ll carry me.
  3. I’m thankful for my kids more than words can explain.  I’m thankful for my body that carried those babies and fed them.  I had never been thankful for my body before my two children. Not many girls are in love with themselves due to way too many unrealistic expectations.  With that added to being chronically ill, I never gave myself credit for what it can do.  It’s easy to focus on how much my body restricts me but  I’m now grateful that my body gave me children that motivate me every day.

Practicing Gratitude for Work and Community

  1. Working for the migraine community is very gratifying.
    1. Giving Back is a big part of my gratitude and advocacy.
  2. [2016] I had been a stay-at-home mom and it was the most challenging and incredible experience.  I now have the opportunity to be a full-time mom and part-time teacher.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to join the workforce again but mostly how I was received.  My boss and coworkers instantly became friends and confidants in life.  They are aware of my migraine and not only are they judgment-free but are supportive.  They either have migraine attacks themselves, have a spouse who suffers, or see migraine as more than a headache and how it alters my life.  It is an accepting group and one that wants the best for each other.
    1. My students and their families are people I go home with each night feeling grateful that I get to be a part of their lives.  I love teaching and being able to go back while keeping my migraines in check during school hours has been a blessing. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever been able to go back to teaching and it fills a void I had while being at home.

My list of thankful and grateful can go on forever.  I am so blessed!  I guess I can complain about migraine and believe me I do, but being thankful is way more fun and productive.  Living with migraine is depressing and many people get sucked into the pain hole that seems too deep to come out of.  Remembering my blessings keeps me mentally battling with pain, nausea, aura, weakness, fatigue, etc. in a more positive way. The mental battle is incredibly difficult and I’m so thankful I have so much to be thankful for and motivated to fight for.

Are you Grateful with Migraine?

Thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting on my blog and thoughts.  I’m thankful for you!!!  Without your feedback, there would be many days that I would not be able to continue my blog.  It is difficult and uses spoons I may not have.  Your comments likes, and shares motivate me because I know I’m helping you or someone who may stumble across this page.

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How are you Thankful or Grateful with Migraine?

I polled my audience on what they are grateful for and here are some of the replies

  • Thankful for friends, family, a safe place to live, and the ability to pay my bills.
  • For this group.
  • Thankful for modern medicine
  • Laughter
  • I live for the pain-free moments of laughter with family and friends!!
  • When the pain level is low enough to be functional
  • I am thankful that I am able to still keep a job that I love and be a good mommy to my kids
  • Thankful for my family, my jobs, and my animals!
  • I am so thankful for my amazing husband who allows me to tag out when I need to lay down and take care of myself. And for his willingness to work past exhaustion to take care of me and our family when I cannot “pull my weight” during times of pain.
  • I’m thankful for my amazing and supportive husband. I’m also thankful for the awesome support system I have at work! Without my husband and my work family, my life would be awful.

I’m Thankful and Grateful for My Migraine Life

  • I’m thankful for my amazing husband and children who support me every single day and for my beautiful family of migraine warriors!
  • I am thankful for your blog! I do not like having “this thing” in common with anyone….but am thankful that you can put into words what I often can’t…or won’t.
  • I am thankful to live in a city of doctors and options.
  • A long list of relatives that share in our unfortunate disease, but not all at such a high level.
  • I am thankful for my husband, who from day one has understood me, and what the future holds with my health, and has never flinched, never questioned, never judged.
  • For my children, good lord are they a blessing, God’s greatest gift to me by far.
  • I am thankful for my energetic children, who give me a reason to muddle through my painful fog, even though sometimes I’d rather hide in bed.
  • Thank You, My Migraine Life for your post on being a mom with a migraine.  You are right it takes a village to raise a kid.  That’s why God gave us the ability to ask for help.   But reading that other moms feel like I do is wonderful.  So thank you and I pray that your message touches other people as it did me.
  • I feel blessed in many ways and could write a very long list. The big one I will share is that I am thankful my migraines and headaches are not as frequent as so many others who have to deal with them so regularly. I am amazed at the strength that you and so many others have in not only “getting through the day” but kicking ass doing it.

Practicing Gratitude Allows Me to Feel Thankful for Migraine

  • I’m thankful to be finding community here, too. I’ve struggled with migraines for years, and tried a variety of meds and elimination diets without very good results. It’s so helpful to find understanding, optimistic peers! I’m looking into a headache hat and a new pair of glasses this month, thanks to you!
  • I am thankful for so many things I can’t name them all, so I am very thankful & although I may not have the best of everything I am blessed
  • Thank you for this post.
  • I am thankful for my wonderful husband who puts up with a house that’s not always clean, listens to me when I’m frustrated with doctors or treatments that don’t work, and doesn’t care that I don’t cook (lol).
  • My two grown children and 6 beautiful grandchildren are blessings.
  • Have two best buddy dogs that snuggle when I need it and keep me entertained when I’m stuck in my house for days on end.
  • I’m thankful I woke up today even though the moment I woke up my headache knocked on my brain.
  • Migraine communities like this that is a places of kindness and support.
  • I’m thankful for today despite the challenges.
  • I’m thankful for people like you who make me feel less alone in this struggle with chronic headaches.
  • Like others have already said – I’m thankful for finding your blog, and this post especially.
  • Love reading this blog and hearing how inspiring you are.”

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!!!

Check out the ways I get through Thanksgiving with Migraine

Thank you to all who chose to take time out of your day to give thanks and share with My Migraine Life community.  I am inspired by all your kind words and strive to make this blog the community, support system, and positive place it is.  Migraines are painful, being a mom is overwhelming and life is chaotic.  May we all find strength and take each day at a time hopefully towards health and happiness!

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Sarah Rathsack

Sarah tells stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. Her kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate her to make a difference in the Migraine World.

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12 Comments

  1. AGB on February 15, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I am thankful I found your blog! I think you may be my migraine twin. As I read your posts, it is like I wrote them. I am a year older than you but have not had a baby yet, mostly because I am terrified of migraines during pregnancy. It is encouraging to hear your stories. Thanks for posting!



  2. mymigrainelife on February 15, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    And I am thankful for readers like you! We all have so much to learn from each other and I’m glad you have found something special in my blog. Thank you for reading. You inspire me to keep going



  3. mymigrainelife on November 2, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Reblogged this on My Migraine Life.



  4. Oona on November 4, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    I’m thankful to be finding community here, too. I’ve struggled with migraines for years, tried a variety of meds and elimination diets without very good results. It’s so helpful to find understanding, optimistic peers! I’m looking into an ice cap and a new pair of glasses this month, thanks to you!



  5. mymigrainelife on November 5, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Keep posted here. I will be talking about products all December with coupon codes & giveaways!!! Axonoptics & headache hat will be featured!



  6. Cathy Haggenmaker on November 7, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    I just discovered your Blog. I have been a long time migraineur. I find it’s helpful reading others stories and knowing that I am not alone in this constant struggle. Thanks for doing this.



  7. mymigrainelife on November 7, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you for commenting. Hearing it helps inspires me more!



  8. Sophie on November 16, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Hey, like others have already said – I’m thankful for finding your blog, and this post especially. Loved reading this post and hearing how inspiring you are. 🙂



  9. mymigrainelife on November 16, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Wow! Thank you???? Your comment really motivates me! We all need support and I’m so grateful I can inspire others while they help me!



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