What to Do When Gratitude Is in Short Supply

if you’re in a thankless mood and gratitude is hard for you to find at the moment, look around and see if you can find just a thing or two that might help you feel good about the life you have. In other words, think small.

I’m Sick But What Is Wrong with Me?

I’m halfway though my fourteenth year of being sick. Recently I’ve found myself saying: “Enough is enough. What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel as if I have the flu all the time?”

Let Autumn Lift Your Spirits

I’m worn out by the end of summer. The oppressive heat of California’s Central Valley takes its toll on plant and animal alike, including humans. That first crisp fall morning when I need to put on a sweater before going outside is one of my favorite moments of the year. It feels like a new beginning.

How Distorted Thinking Increases Stress and Anxiety

"Personalization" is a major trigger for self-blame. It occurs when you erroneously see yourself as the cause of some external negative event, even though you weren’t responsible for it. An example is when you feel responsible for whether people have a good time when you’re with them.

Anything Can Happen at Any Time

“Anything can happen at any time” is a comment made by one of my favorite Buddhist teachers—Joseph Goldstein. A few weeks ago, Joseph’s words were driven home to me. It was early on a Sunday morning and my new puppy Scout had just turned five months old...

20 Quotations on Generosity—a Profound Act of Kindness

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” —Simone Weil

Puppy Pitfalls: Are Pets and Chronic Illness a Good Match?

In early June, my husband and I brought 12 week-old puppy into our house to join us and our 9 1/2 year-old hound dog, Rusty. I’ll be honest. Given the effect it’s had on my health, I’ve questioned at times whether we made a wise decision.

When Chronic Illness Makes You World Weary: A Guest Post

In August of 2009, Theresa Johnson was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Sjögren's Syndrome, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. After reading one of her recent blog posts, I asked her if she’d turn it into a guest piece for us. I’m grateful that she agreed to it. I hope you find this as validating of your experience and as inspiring as I do.

Top 10 Song Titles that Capture Chronic Pain and Illness

Thank you David Letterman for coming up with the Top Ten List. To bad "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

What It’s Like to Take a Vacation While Chronically Ill

Am I sorry I went? No. I freely agreed to go. I’m writing this piece to share what it can be like for a sick person to travel. Thankfully, it’s not this difficult for everyone who is chronically ill (which includes those who are in chronic pain). Nevertheless, I thought my experience might be helpful to others, both to those who are chronically ill and to their loved ones.

Surprisingly Modern Wisdom From Ancient Greeks and Romans

These ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and statesmen used few words to express pearls of wisdom that stand up today as guidelines for living wisely and compassionately. There’s much food for thought here. Enjoy.

13 Tips From 13 Years Sick

When I began to write for Psychology Today over three years ago, one of the first articles I posted was called “10 Tips from 10 Years Sick.” It’s three years later and…I’m still sick. And so, 10 + 3 = 13, meaning it’s time for “13 Tips from 13 Years Sick.” Some have made an appearance in the earlier pieces, but that’s because some tips have a very long shelf life.

7 Myths About Mindfulness

I’ve been studying and practicing mindfulness from a Buddhist perspective for over 20 years. Its entry into mainstream culture is a positive development; studies even attest to its health benefits. But I also think there are several misconceptions floating around about it. This piece covers seven myths about mindfulness.

How to Help Your Caregiver

This piece covers several ways in which you can ease your caregiver’s burden. It focuses on caregivers who are partners but, unless the care-for-one is a child, these suggestions can be used to help other caregivers, such as your children, parents, or siblings.

3 Things the Chronically Ill Wish Their Loved Ones Knew

We appreciate so much all that our loved ones have done to educate themselves about our medical condition, to take care of us, and to support us. These are just three additional things that that we want them to know about us.

My Other Mother: Being Raised by “The Maid”

There’s a wall in our living room with pictures of my family. Once a day, I stop and silently address each of the them with love in my heart, using whatever words feel right at the moment. Then I close my eyes and bring Iola’s face to mind (I have no picture of her). I tell her how much I love her and thank her for being my mother.

Resolving Conflicts When a Partner Is Chronically Ill

It’s hard enough to sustain a good relationship when neither partner is facing a health challenge. Illness ranks high on the list of life’s stressful events, so it’s no surprise that it can have a negative impact on a close relationship.

Three Years In: The Top 12 “Turning Straw Into Gold” Pieces

I was pleased to discover that the top 12 pieces cover a broad range of subjects and are spread evenly across the three years. I invite you to browse through the list and read (or re-read) those that spark your interest.

How Chronic Pain and Illness Fan the Flames of Uncertainty

No one is immune from life’s uncertainty. But for the chronically ill—which includes those who suffer from chronic pain—it can feel as if the number of life factors subject to uncertainty has multiplied geometrically. Indeed, perhaps the hardest thing about being chronically ill is the uncertainty it brings to almost every aspect of life.

Springtime Unfolds in Quotations, Commentary, and Pictures

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. —Mark Twain

Highly Recommended: Guy Winch’s Book, “Emotional First Aid”

I was first introduced to Guy Winch through his popular blog at Psychology Today. His writing resonates with me because it’s practical, whether he’s explaining how to make an effective apology or discussing the keys to recovering from failure. I was looking forward to reading his new book, "Emotional First Aid," and I was not disappointed.

The Extra Burdens Faced by Young People with Chronic Illness

From years of writing about chronic pain and illness, I’ve learned that young people carry several extra burdens, especially when their disability is invisible, as is more often the case than not. This piece focuses on young people, although some of its points apply to people of any age, depending on their circumstances.

8 Life Lessons from the Winter Olympics in Sochi

Here are eight life lessons to take away from the 2014 Winter Olympics: no comparing, no clinging, no preferences, impermanence rules, be open to new experiences, feel good for those who are happy and compassion for those who are sad, and…all of us can glitter without gold.

Oscar Films That Realistically Depict Life for the Disabled

Here are twelve Oscar-nominated films that are strikingly honest in their depiction of the disabled.

More Confessions of a Sick Person

When I’m alone, my eating habits are fit only for my dog to see.

Has “Downton Abbey” Jumped the Shark?

Has Downton Abbey finally jumped the shark? Read about Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes' frustrating relationship, Bates and Anna's miseries, Lord Grantham and his money woes, Mrs. Patmore and her yelling, the mopey Mr. Molesley, and Tom's silly flings...

A Not-To-Do List For Caregivers of the Chronically Ill

The National Family Caregiving Association found that over 60% of caregivers who provide at least 20 hours of caregiving a week suffer from depression. Here is a Not-To-Do list to ease the burden of those who are caring for others.

5 Tips for Handling a Bad Mood

I don’t get in bad moods very often, but it happens and, to be frank, it feels awful. Here are five suggestions for skillfully handling a bad mood.

Top 10 Things I Learned from Writing Two Books

To my great surprise, I’m now officially the author of two books. If you’d asked me a few years ago if I’d ever be a published author, I’d have said, “You’re kidding, right?” But here I am, two books older and two books wiser. I hope you learn something about book writing from this piece although, mostly, I hope it gives you a laugh or two!

My New Year’s Wishes for the Chronically Ill

Here are my hopes and wishes for the new year...

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