A patient conducting Dialysis emailed KidneyBuzz.com and said, "Dialysis is getting harder and harder for me. I feel like giving up. I just do not enjoy life anymore! People tell me that I should be 'grateful' to be alive, but they do not understand....Grateful for what....? This is NOT living!"
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Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients find it increasingly difficult to be grateful given their constant challenges and concerns about survival. Many patients must contend with multiple serious complications, Draining Dialysis Treatments, Emotional Struggles, Limited Lifestyle, and more while still managing all of the other challenges and disappointments of life. This leads to anxiety, frustration, depression, demoralization, and stress which makes the idea of gratitude seem distant and almost impossible. However, new findings suggest that just a little bit of gratitude may actually help patients improve their quality of life and overall health.
Gratitude is “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life,” said Dr. Robert Emmons (one of the world’s preeminent researchers on gratitude). The idea that showing gratitude is good is nothing new. Most major religions consider gratitude a virtue, and we all grew up with parents and teachers reminding us, again and again, to say "Thank You."
New research emphasizes the importance of being grateful because patients who show more gratitude sleep better, have a stronger Immune System, improved relationships and it provides protection against envy, materialism, depression, and substance abuse.
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“Importantly, gratitude can also be a source of resilience in the face of our own daily stresses as well as a source of healing after personal tragedies," noted Dr. Jennifer Whaley (a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente Georgia).
Well, the fact is that showing gratitude and feeling grateful is easier for some patients than others. Hence, if you are interested in cultivating gratitude but stumped about where to start, there’s good news. Research is showing that the following activities are especially likely to boost gratitude:
1.) Focusing on the positive: Especially when something goes wrong at Dialysis or during your day/week, patients should take a moment and think about the many things that are going better for them.
2.) Writing it down in a gratitude journal: Keep it fresh by focusing on different themes — family, friends, work, health or nature, for example.
3.) Making a gratitude letter: The act of writing and delivering a letter of thankfulness to someone can increase happiness long after the letter is shared.
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