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How I’m Learning to Replace Whining With Gratitude

I recently finished reading through Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Her challenge for us to adopt a spirit of thankfulness — no matter our situation — caused me to step back and realize that I’ve become a whiner in recent months.

You see, I’m normally a pretty upbeat, look-on-the-bright-side-of things type of person. But I’ve had some lingering health and allergy issues that have not gone away for months.

I’ve tried so many different things: drastic change in diet (I’ve been off all refined and processed foods for a number of weeks), change in skincare routine, change in allergy medicines… nothing is really making a big difference and I’ve been waiting for quite some time to be able to get in for testing with an allergist.

In the mean time, I’ve been struggling with incessant cold-like symptoms and it’s been wearing on me. As a result, my poor husband has heard a lot of whining over the last few months. Instead of my usual early morning excitement about the day’s events or my cheery report when he gets home from work, he’s often getting the rundown on my latest health problems — which is pretty much the same old, same old every single day.

Reading Choosing Gratitude really helped me see how I’ve been focusing on the things I was struggling with, instead of choosing to be thankful. And not only that, but I felt so convicted at how I was griping over something so petty.

Sure, allergies are no fun (as I’m positive many of you can attest to), but seasonal allergies pale in comparison to some of the life-threatening, debilitating, and/or overwhelmingly incomprehensible issues so many people are facing right now. And I have much to be grateful for — much that I’ve been taking for granted while I was having a pity-party for myself.

Because of Nancy’s encouragement through Choosing Gratitude, I started a Gratitude Journal and I’ve challenged myself to make a daily habit of waking up each morning and starting my day by filling out an entire notebook page with things I’m thankful for.

At first, it seemed rather daunting — especially since I’ve gotten out of the exercise of journaling the past few years. But you know what I’m finding as the days go on? The notebook page is feeling smaller and smaller each morning!

There’s something about starting the day with counting your blessings that just helps change your whole attitude about the day. And the more I’m focusing on my blessings, the less my allergies and health issues have seemed to matter.

In fact, I haven’t even thought to give Jesse one of my normal moping health reports over the last few days. I guess that’s another thing I can add to my Gratitude List for tomorrow! 🙂

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  1. Sasha says:

    I just read this post, and my husband is an allery sufferer as well. One thing you can try to help relieve some of your symptoms while you are waiting for your appointment is a netti pot or a sinus rinse product. It has help my husband a great deal.

  2. deborah says:

    It isn’t fun to not feel well. I have days that I feel yucky and I know it affects everything, BUT there is always a brighter side! It is just so easy to forget to look for it! I’m really inspired by the idea of a gratitude journal. I recently read, One Thousand Gifts, which is, of course, basically the same idea. I just hadn’t made concrete the idea of a whole seperate journal for thanksgiving!

  3. Penny says:

    I’m not sure anyone has mentioned this, but I’m assuming you have carpeting and rugs in your home? Have you recently bought new furniture? The off-gassing might be aggravating your allergies.

    I’d recommend reading ‘Healthy Child, Healthy World’ by Christopher Gavigan. He explains it a lot better than I could! 😉

  4. Busy Mom says:

    Crystal, thanks for this post… so inspirational! Great idea to count your blessings every morning! Glad to hear you are feeling better!

  5. Marie says:

    Crystal thanks for your honesty. I am always so encouraged by your blog. It’s the one thing I make time to read everyday. And also all the other readers comments. It’s such a blessing.
    Gratitude really makes such a difference in my life. I recently had a friend abruptly end the friendship with no explanation or anything. I was really left bewildered and hurt. It also meant that my kids could no longer play with her kids and they literally would ask everyday to play with them. What do you tell a 5 year old when you don’t know yourself. I was really getting down about the situation and feeling like I was a horrible person, even though I didn’t know any reason for the end of the friendship. Instead of focusing on the other friendships in my life I let this one drain all my joy!
    When I realized it I started thanking God for the other friendships and focusing on those and seeing that I wasn’t a bad friend or person. I struggle with rejection alot. I also began praying for the friend who ended the friendship and just asked God to bless her. It’s hard when we live in the same neighborhood and our kids are in similar activities for the summer. But I would just pray for her, which really helped me to not be so down. And you know what? Yesterday, she tearfully apologized to me!!!! I didn’t see that coming. I was able to embrace her, forgive her and move forward. God can do all things.

  6. Melissa says:

    I think it’s great that you are chosing to stay positive and start your day off with reminding yourself of how many things you have to be thankful for! I know a lot of people have suggested trying a Neti pot for your allergies. I can be added to the list of people this has worked for. Oddly I am allergic to almost all allergy medicine so the Neti pot is just about the only thing I can use. I was reluctant to try it but after my hay fever got so unbearable I decided to give it a try. Now I don’t think anything about doing it every morning. It sure beats dealing with allergies! The Neti pot would be on my list of things I’m grateful for! 🙂

  7. Heather says:

    i enjoy your blog daily. and have for a few years now. just a thought: have your home tested for mold, if you haven’t already.
    i pray you get some answers quickly!

  8. Theresa says:

    My Sunday school class really enjoyed this book too. I’ve found it’s helped me to stop and look at the positives of situations…like a specialist appt for the children that was scheduled during nap time! 🙂 It seems to really shape the children’s behavior in a positive way also.

    Best wishes with your allergy issues. We’d be lost without our allergist!

  9. It’s so easy to become whiny. It’s something I need to work on not doing. Thankful I have a hubby that is forgiving, but can’t allow that to excuse myself.

  10. Victoria says:

    Thanks for sharing this Crystal. I was very surprised by it since you always seem to get so much done and you seem so positive all of the time. I really hope and pray that you feel better soon. I know that you and your family eat really healthy, but I highly recommend that you look into the Paleo diet.

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