Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing Down the Pain, Part Two

If you weren't swayed by my first blog post about putting your feelings / thoughts / delusions onto the page, perhaps the findings of Ariel Gore, author of Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness will convince you. Gore, curious about what helped women feel happy, asked a dozen to keep a happiness journal. What she discovered, according to the March 2010 issue of Body + Soul magazine, was that "the simple act of recording...moments actually expanded them." In other words, writing down something that makes you happy – your infant's smile as you enter his room in the morning, your dog's wagging tail, the sunshine streaming in a window, discovering that the infidelity diet has rendered you skinny beyond your wildest dreams – actually expands the happiness created.
I remember perfectly the day, a month or two post D-Day and when I was still in the "will I ever feel happy again" phase, I was walking my dogs. I was trying hard to not let my mind go into that dark neighborhood where I obsessed about the OW, details of the affair, myriad ways of killing my husband or myself or both, etc. etc. It had snowed the night before and the lawns were blanketed in white. The sun shone brilliantly. I focused on my dogs. The sunshine. The twinkling snow. And, for a few fleeting moments, I felt happy. At peace. Then my dastardly brain yanked me back into the darkness of my thoughts.
BUT! Later that day, I wrote about that moment. Which expanded it and let me turn it over and over again in my mind. And I was assured – because my journal said do – that happiness was possible. Perhaps even likely.
What Gore notes is that, by noticing, appreciating and documenting those moments, we are more likely to intentionally seek them out. And, it follows logically, the more we seek out those moments that give us happiness, the happier we'll become. Maybe not today. But...soon.

1 comment:

  1. True. You really need to focus on yourself to survive this thing. The myriad ways of killing are familiar to me ;-) To me running miles and miles and miles help. But I found out soon enough that even after 11 miles I could still remain angry and my mind could still be racing through all the disgusting details of my husband's affair. So, changing my mindset was the thing I needed to focus on. Now - this sounds ridiculous but it worked - I tried to think 'I am damn happy' on the rhythm of my running; It kept my mind busy is a decent way and I ran faster. Yes, the lost pounds make me proud too ;-)



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