Last week we covered Infertility Resilience and Faith in an ongoing series of posts on infertility grief.
Overcoming infertility grief demands resilience. In the past year or so the terms "brain plasticity" and "neuroplasticity" have popped up numerous times for me, and more than once it was in relation to resilience. The message is that your brain can change/is changing as we sit here, and it doesn't have to be stuck in the same old muck forever (with work). Which is good news when infertility is weighing heavily on us and we want more resilience to cope with it.
Four Ways to Improve Brain Plasticity
1) One of the easiest and due to that probably the first thing you can do to improve neuroplasticity is to take advantage of the *games* at the following websites:
...the list goes on and on. Some of these services are free, some only free for a trial period.
2) Secondly, *learning new and challenging skills* is another, perhaps more practical means of improving neuroplasticity. What about that foreign language you wanted to learn? That instrument? That hobby? That one skill you've been meaning to pick up?
3) Thirdly, as per this study *avoiding social isolation* is important. And this may be a hard one for childess persons! We *may* have more time for the first two suggestions, but there is also such an isolating factor that I wouldn't be surprised if a rather large percentage of childless people have very little social interaction. Especially those of us that have ended up working alone, at home or not at all. It's easier to slip into isolation than to step out of it. For some of us, "getting out around people" is a huge challenge, and a big reason to reach out: find a good church, meet up with a friendly club (perhaps for one of those new skills you'll be working on), join a support group, volunteer... There are ways to reach out to other adults that don't rely children's activities.
4) Finally, *basic care of yourself* (diet, exercise, sleep, etc.) plays a part in brain health.
I notice these four steps basically scream "get a life" or maybe "carpe diem" V. settling into a drab "just existing" mentality. It may take us more purposeful effort, when parents tend to be pulled into a life of sorts due to the gravitational force of their child(ren). I remember putting off "getting a life" due solely to the fact I might end up pregnant and on that child's track shortly. It would be a terrible waste to make that excuse from age 18 to menopause.
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