TTC: When you’re struggling to conceive, being grateful is not a natural first step. I clearly remember thinking, “Don’t tell me to be grateful for my life if it’s without a child.” I didn’t want to hear it. But if I could have shifted my perspective slightly and asked myself instead, “What do I have in my life right now that makes me happy?” “Can I be grateful for that?” the answer might have been, “Well yes, that I can be grateful for.” When we shift from what we don’t have yet, to what we do – miraculous changes happen. Start small.
3 simple ways to cultivate gratitude
1. Write down each day 3 things you’re grateful for. Make it a daily ritual for just 15 days.
- Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Phycology did some interesting research on gratitude. He worked with a group of patients who were severely depressed and asked them to write down each day 3 things they were grateful for. They did this for just 15 days. At the end of the study 92% had an increase in happiness. Specifically, they felt better about themselves and had more optimism about the future.
2. Link your gratitude ritual to something that you’re doing already.
- Rather than making it something ‘extra’ that you have to do, can you think about what you’re grateful for whilst doing something you do regularly? For example, when you brew your tea in the morning, rather than flicking through your phone or checking your email, can you use this time to think about the 3 things you’re grateful for? Perhaps you travel to work on the bus or the train. Rather than listening to music or podcasts can you write your gratitude list then?
3. Pick someone you feel grateful towards and write them a letter.
- This takes a little more effort but the rewards are worth it. Write a gratitude letter, read it to the person and then listen attentively to their response. Everyone loves to be acknowledged and thanked, it makes them feel wonderful, and what they say in response can be life affirming for you too.
Finally, a ttc journey is a tough road to travel. Keep tuning in and being kind. Really that’s what all these gratitude practices are about. When you soften, give yourself a break and know you are doing the best that you can, it allows you to keep going along this path for as long as as you are able. And who doesn’t need help with that as you ttc?
Bring it on.
Photo credit: Thank you @PositivelyPresent.com