Stephanie was invited by Olive Fertility Centre to write this guest post for Thanksgiving…

In a recent article by Dr. Richard J. Davidson, a neuroscientist and director of the Center for Healthy Minds, he notes that the psychological impact of “the pandemic has affirmed that it’s more important than ever to care for our own well-being.”

How can we build resiliency despite our current circumstances and the challenges we might be facing?  How can we strengthen our ability to cope with the ups and downs of life…including being on a fertility journey?

One of the ways we can counterbalance the intensity of our lives is by intentionally cultivating gratitude.

Research has linked gratitude with a wide range of benefits, including strengthening the immune system and improving sleep patterns, feeling optimistic and experiencing more joy and pleasure, being more helpful and generous, and feeling less lonely and isolated.

Building our capacity for gratitude doesn’t eliminate the challenges but it does helps us see the aspects that are ok more clearly and with more appreciation.  It helps us notice the little wins—like the bus showing up right on time or the generosity of a stranger holding open the door.  Each of these small moments strings together to create a web of well-being that, over time, strengthens our ability to notice the good.

Here are some simple practices to try:

  • Come to Your Senses. Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human.  Allow yourself to linger for a moment in the senses…noticing the sounds of birds, the vibrancy of the leaves changing colour, the feeling of warmth from a sunbeam through the window. Our senses help connect us to the immediacy of the present moment and we can savour the aliveness that is here.
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal.  Establish a daily practice of reflecting on the gifts, grace, benefits and good things that happen each day. Recalling moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, our personal attributes, or valued people in our life helps to interweave a sustainable theme of gratefulness into our lives.
  • Share Your Gratitude with Others.  Research has found that expressing gratitude can strengthen relationships. The next time your partner, friend or family member does something you appreciate, be sure to let them know!

The more you can bring your attention to that which you feel grateful for, the more things you’ll notice to feel grateful for!