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Find A Reason: Celebrating Small Moments Helps Me Live Well

It can be really hard to be happy when living with an autoimmune disease. Debilitating symptoms, isolation from friends, food anxiety, chronic pain and fatigue and other aspects of our lives can leave a huge storm cloud hanging over our heads for days (or weeks, months or years) and can make creating happiness in our day to day routines very hard.

I know because I’ve been there.

There have been times in my past (and more recently as well) where I’ve let the daunting diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease take over. I drew away from doing things that I loved to do (read about health and wellness, write, exercise, do yoga etc) and instead chose to dwell on what living with Crohn’s Disease has taken from me.

However, with help from a growing community founded here in my hometown of Portland, ME, I’ve learned about how important it is to find and celebrate small moments in my day that make me smile and how it positively impacts me and my illness. This community, called Flex Your Face, shares inspiring and uplifting daily content online that urges people to “find a reason to flex your face” aka SMILE!

Focusing more often on things that make you smile rather than the intensity of your symptoms is a great way to invite a new perspective into your life.

It is one of gratitude for the little things, which makes living through the big (tough) things a little easier. Even though the big picture is one that includes tough, scary and heartbreaking days, those days also include moments of joy, love, happiness, and triumph. As chronic illness patients, we may just have to look a little closer to find them.

There may be days where all you do is watch movies.

Celebrate the fact that you got to watch that childhood movie that you haven’t seen in years.

There may be days where the farthest you can walk is just up the street.

Celebrate putting one foot in front of the other and pushing past your limits, despite pain.

There may be days where you have to cancel plans with friends, but they come see you instead.

Celebrate having quality friendships with people who support you and care about your well-being so much that they come to see you anyways, even when you aren’t feeling your best.

Trying to focus on celebration when faced with the obstacles that come a chronic illness is tough when trying to do it alone.

Having people around you who can remind you to celebrate the small triumphs that you do have is crucial to help make this lifestyle habit stick.

It was hard for me at first, but I’ve decided to lean on people who are determined to “find a reason” every day just like I am and it has helped so much. Now, while I still have my tough days (or weeks, etc.) I am more likely to find a reason within those hard days that makes me smile. It lifts my mood and has the chance to turn my day around, which has been life changing. While some of the negative thoughts are still there in my head, I am more focused on the positive ones and that has made a huge difference for me in terms of living well with my illness.

If you feel called to “find a reason” during the hard days and need support, the Flex Your Face community (including me!) is waiting for you with open arms and tons of inspiring + loving people.

Reach out. Gain support. Find A Reason 🙂

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    1 year ago

    Such a great read. Having IBD puts such a strain on your mental health, and reaching out and getting support is so important. Love the idea of the Flex Your Face community! Thanks for sharing.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • Gillendor
    3 years ago

    I love this article SO MUCH!! This is exactly what I have discovered through my own journey with Crohn’s disease. So much so that I have made it my life mission to help others find their happiness again! I agree wholeheartedly that you have to find small wins each and every day to get through it all! Even if your win is just running to the bathroom a few less times! Lol Thanks for sharing this! This warms my heart!

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