Healthy Living

What I’m Grateful for and Why It Matters

Often amidst tough times, it is easy to forget to be grateful. To remember what is good in our lives. At such times, we must attempt to remember: there may be challenges, but there are good things in our lives, too.

Today I want to share with you all the things I am grateful for.

My Family and Justin

I'm grateful for my parents
With mum and dad in May 2019

I moved to London when I was 19 and all my family are still in Finland. But that makes no difference; I know they are here to support me regardless of the distance.

I’m sure my parents would have preferred me to stay in Finland, but they never tried to discourage me from moving to London. They always fully supported and encouraged my siblings and I when we were growing up and provided us with lots of experiences and opportunities.

My sister and I were not always the best pals growing up. Often we were at each other’s throats and drove my mum and dad crazy. And when we weren’t arguing, that wasn’t much better either. Like the time we created an indoor ‘ice-skating’ rink with fairy liquid and water – the bubbles were everywhere. Or the time we had a snowball fight indoors. My brother and I didn’t fight as much, probably because there is a bigger age difference. We also shared – and still do –  many interests like ice hockey.

My beautiful niece
My handsome nephew

I’m grateful to have a lovely niece and nephew. My nephew is my sister’s and niece my brother’s. They are both such brilliant characters and I can’t believe I haven’t seen them for so long, thanks to Covid. I last saw my niece last Christmas and nephew in February, when he came over with my sister. I really hope I will be able to get to Finland at Christmas without having to spend two weeks in quarantine, in which case there wouldn’t be much point in going, so I can see them and the rest of the family.

Justin shares the number one spot with my family. If it weren’t for him, I probably would have packed my bags and gone home for my treatments regardless of the fact that The Royal Marsden is one of the top three cancer hospitals in the world. Finland has an excellent healthcare system, too, so I would still have been in expert hands. But I never needed to consider that option because of Justin.

He was absolutely amazing throughout and it can’t have been easy for him either. It is important to remember that serious illnesses have an enormous impact on those close to you, too.

Justin

I am Grateful to Have Fabulous Friends

When it comes to my friends, I have a strong, supportive network of friends. I’ve said it before and I will say it again when people comment on my positivity: it is easy to stay positive with all that love and support. I can be grateful for all the fantastic friends I have both here and back home.

Fab friends from home

I know my diagnosis was just as much a shock to my friends as it was to myself, Justin and my family. You just don’t expect someone of my age to be diagnosed with cancer, although the sad fact is that cancer affects people of all ages and many are developing cancer younger than before.

They predict that 50% of the UK population will get cancer at some point in their lives. It used to be one in three people. One has to wonder why that number has gone up, but that is something I will focus on in another post.

The Incredibly Dedicated Doctors and Nurses

I could not write an appreciation post without mentioning the wonderful NHS. I am so grateful to live in a country with such an excellent healthcare system. And not only is it excellent, it is also free for all.

With my sister and brother around ’86

I can never fully express my appreciation for all the doctors and nurses who have looked after me and continue to do so. I could not have received better care if I paid for it. I have experienced specialised doctors at one of the best cancer hospitals in the world in charge of my treatment.

And the nurses, I cannot praise them enough. They are so dedicated and caring. And they have such positive energy. This is so important, especially when dealing with a disease such as cancer.

And There Is So Much More to Be Grateful For

Other things that make the list of good things in my life is our flat with its balcony that allows us to do some urban gardening. I love our flat. At first I wasn’t sure of the location because I was so used to being able to walk into town (meaning Central London) but I am used to it now. At times I still miss the easy access to everywhere from Pimlico, but we definitely have a much better flat now.

Combining work and pleasure on the balcony

Our old flat was in a great location overlooking the Thames but it was old and getting quite grotty – it needed a complete refurbishment, which you can’t do when you are renting. It was also only a studio flat and we now have a modern one-bedroom flat with a balcony.

After years of living in flats with no outside space, it is great to have a balcony. We can now be outside without necessarily going somewhere. Something that was vital for our mental wellbeing doing the lockdown!

I’m also grateful for my school and colleagues. They have been supportive through the treatment period when I was off work and following my return to work. I am so lucky for the opportunity to work there part time in a dream role doing intervention and some cover teaching because it means that I still have time and energy to focus on my writing, too.

I am grateful to have amazing things to look forward to like our cycle ride across Europe and fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

And, this is the big one, I am so extremely grateful and blessed to be cancer free now. I am grateful for each and every day that I wake up. 

And I mustn’t forget to express my gratitude to all of you who take the time to read my blog. Thank you!

Why Gratitude Matters?

There are many benefits to being grateful that have been scientifically proven. Here are seven scientifically proven benefits of practising gratitude.

  1. Opens the door to more relationships.
  2. Improves physical health.
  3. Improves psychological health.
  4. Enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
  5. Grateful people sleep better.
  6. Improves self-esteem.
  7. Increases mental strength.

You can read about the seven benefits in more detail here.

If you are not used to practising gratitude, a guided meditation can help to get started. Here is a ten-minute meditation that I have used when I need help to focus.

What are you grateful for? We would love to hear from you, so let us know in the comments what you are grateful for.

Until next time.

 

To help us raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and to spread awareness of Lynch syndrome and womb cancer, you can: 

  • Like and comment on the post.
  • Help spread the word by sharing this post with your friends and followers on social media.
  • Make a donation to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, see our fundraising page.

Thank you!

 

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One thought on “What I’m Grateful for and Why It Matters

  1. I’m grateful for my kids, my parents, all my friends and having a job that is secure in these strange times.

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