Practicing Gratitude This Holiday Season

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by Frankie Perazzola |

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spirituality, accommodations, internalized ableism, broken bone, fitness, newly diagnosed, reflecting

With the holidays approaching, it is a popular time to look back on the year and reflect on life. It’s safe to say that we all have had one of the strangest years ever. No matter where you stand on the political or religious spectrum, the world has endured a copious amount of confusion and pain, and we deserve a break. 

One of the biggest changes I have implemented in my daily life is practicing gratitude. It sounds simple, and it may not seem that great results can come from expressing gratitude, but in reality, this practice has changed my perspective on life.

We could all use a breath of fresh air, and practicing gratitude in small increments can hopefully lighten up your holidays.

Each morning when I open my eyes, I thank God and the universe for giving me another day. Realistically, I don’t have the brain capacity to remember everything I’m grateful for that early in the morning. When I wake up, I usually have about 25,000 things on my mind. 

So, after I shower and do my usual morning routine, I’ll sit down for however long I feel is needed that day and list five things I am grateful for. Sometimes I’ll write them down using the notes app on my phone. Most of the time, I keep track of them mentally.

My list changes every day. This isn’t to say that my level of gratitude changes every day, but rather each day requires a different headspace. 

Creating the list is about focusing on the basics. I have found that there is no specific way to generate things to be grateful for. But we can have some essential things to default to. For example, my foundation can be narrowed down to having a roof over my head, food in the refrigerator, and clothes on my back, and the fact that my family is healthy and well.

Other days might require larger amounts of gratitude.

Some days, I’ll focus on the world and put my energy into being grateful for Mother Nature, human existence, the ability to learn, and similar things. 

Currently, I’m trying to express more gratitude as a part of my personality and character so that it becomes something I do naturally. Having Friedreich’s ataxia requires a great deal of focus on everything in the body in general. Because of that, I have realized that it’s easier for me to do things out of habit rather than when it’s something I must constantly think about. If I can create a small behavioral change that leads to positive outcomes, why not try?

The next time we feel stuck or want a change of pace, we can remember to practice gratitude to see if it changes our day. I know it can be difficult to put ourselves in that frame of mind. Most of the time, it’s easier said than done. But we can start small and build toward a bigger list. Be patient with yourself. 

Cheers to the upcoming holidays! I hope you all have a safe Thanksgiving, or whichever festivity you choose to celebrate, and that you find safe ways to enjoy the presence of your loved ones!


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.


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