Welcome to From Gutter to Stars -- You can read all about the blog title here. I'm a psychotherapist specializing in infertility and was in the trenches for six years learning how to take care of myself while dealing with this incredibly tumultuous disease, which affects body, mind, and soul.
After hanging out here on the "other side," I realized I wanted to help this community that's so near and dear to my heart. I'm hoping there's a little something you can take away today that will help you cope and maybe even find a little smile while dealing with infertility. Welcome!
Today I'd like to write about happiness. Seemingly simple, happiness often evades those working through a life crisis or traumatic experience. I mean, how can one be happy when hurting so much, right?
Infertility is special. It invades every aspect of life, and it's chronic. So, even when there are those moments that bring a smile to your face and cause you to feel that warm inner glow, in the next moment it's marred by the mere sight of a pregnant woman or baby carriage. "Congratulations!" you say to the next announcement, all the while wanting to be happy. You muster up the will to smile broadly, but true joy escapes you. Again.
Today I'm writing about one small thing you can do to buoy your spirits: Gratitude. I know, I know...you hear them all the time, right? Those placations that never really help. "Oh, just be thankful for what you do have." Somehow that's supposed to make you pregnant, I suppose, eh?
However! Reminding yourself of some of the wonderful things in your life may boost your spirit long enough to ease the burden a bit. And, really, if you feel lighter for even 5 minutes in your day, isn't it worth it?
So, here's a small task: When you wake up in the morning, write down three (or five or ten) things you're grateful for. I don't care how tiny they are. For example, this morning I was grateful that I woke up without a stiff neck for the first time in months (thank you, new pillow!).
Just as a small experiment to yourself, rate your happiness on a scale from 1-10 at the beginning of seven days; do this task for seven days, then rate your happiness again. If you go up even half a point, you know this works for you.
What's on your grateful list today?
And, just because I'm a nerd who loves research, I have to plug the Positive Psychology Department at UPenn. If you want to know truly where you stand on various topics such as Happiness, Optimism, and Gratitude, head on over to the Authentic Happiness Research Center and take a questionnaire or two. They're free! I'm pretty sure you have to register for a user ID and password, but it's all free.
May you have a fantastic Tuesday. Until next time...