Volume 03 Oct 2019
enjoying life
improved emotional well being & gratitude

Halloween is almost here, and to me it's a signal that the holidays are around the corner, Some of us will welcome the celebrations, others not so much. Thanksgiving alone can evoke so many mixed emotions.... reflecting on the past, thoughts of what you're grateful for and for what lies ahead. For many of us emotions can take a more predominate role during this time. New research has shown that we can improve our emotonal and physical health by taking actions in our everyday life to improve how we feel and look at things. I hope these two articles provoke a thougth or two and provides you with a tool or two to consider as Halloween is upon us!
enhancing your emotional well being
Distinguishing Between Emotions May Help to Manage Them
"High differentiators" might cope with negative emotions more effectively.
By Elizabeth Zakaim
After a stressful event, it’s common to experience a flood of emotions–imagine feeling sadness, anger , and anxiety all at once. One way of dealing with those emotions successfully may be to mentally distinguish them and actively reckon with each one, according to a recent paper published in the journal Psychological Science.
Identifying each emotion as it’s experienced is called emotion differentiation. Parsing the nuances of one’s emotional state may not immediately come to mind as a coping technique, but it could be an underappreciated way to manage distress. “Differentiation may stop negative emotions from turning into something worse,” says lead author Elise Kalokerinos , a lecturer at the University of Newcastle.
In two studies, Kalokerinos and her colleagues collected data from hundreds of college students in the midst of stressful situations, such as adjusting to the first week of school or waiting for an exam grade. At various points throughout the day, over multiple days, students recorded how they felt and rated the extent to which they used each of a variety of common emotion regulation strategies. For example, the students rated the degree to which they had distracted themselves from their feelings or tried to reframe the way they viewed the situation.
The researchers also gauged emotion differentiation based on the distinctiveness of an individual's emotion ratings over time: Someone who reported highly matched levels of different negative emotions, such as “sad,” “ anxious ,” and “disappointed,” was taken to be a “low differentiator.” 
For high differentiators, compared to low differentiators, the use of certain emotion-regulation strategies (such as distraction) was less closely associated with negative emotions—providing “evidence that differentiation is associated with strategy effectiveness,” the researchers write. One emotion-regulation approach, however—acceptance—was associated with less negative emotion for low differentiators, but not for high differentiators.
The overall amount of variance in negative emotions that differentiation helped account for was small. But the results suggest that “if you have this big mess of emotions where you don’t specifically label them, you’ll have a harder time managing your emotions,” Kalokerinos says. 

“The results give us really clear insight into how being able to identify what you’re feeling and being able to change what you’re feeling are associated with each other,” says Erik Nook , a clinical psychology doctoral student at Harvard University studying emotion regulation. “A primary task in therapy is helping people figure out what they’re feeling.” 
Kalokerinos believes that the results at least support the possibility that emotion differentiation is a helpful strategy. She suggests that people can learn to apply it in their daily lives. The process of distinguishing emotions can be similar to practicing mindfulness , she says: Take time to become aware of what you’re feeling in the present moment ...…"

For the study details: Differentiate to Regulate: Low Negative Emotion Differentiation Is Associated With Ineffective Use but Not Selection of Emotion-Regulation Strategies
First Published April 16, 2019

LIFE discusses ways of coping with life, the emphasis on moving forward and enjoying.
LIFE's library of topics:
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  • Infertility: The Impact On The Male Partner
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  • Pause & Prospective-How these 2 words can reduce your anxiety and increase your happiness
  • Donor Egg Considerations with Gail Sexton Anderson, EdM - CEO & Founder Donor Concierge
thankful, grateful, appreciation....
does it really matter?
After all, what Is Gratitude? it's an emotion, a feeling of appreciation to someone or something. (Cambridge dictonairy)

"Gratitude is a spontaneous feeling but, increasingly, research demonstrates its value as a practice—that is, making conscious efforts to count one’s blessings..........Studies show that people can deliberately cultivate gratitude"! for those that choose this option, it can result in postive emotional and physical well being.

You may ask, "if it is possible to feel grateful toward loved ones, colleagues, animals, mother nature, and life in general? " The answer is yes ! "Gratitude generates a climate of positivity that both reaches inward and extends outward. Psychologists find that, over time, feeling grateful boosts happiness and fosters both physical and psychological health, even among those already struggling. Studies show that practicing gratitude curbs the use of words expressing negative emotions and shifts inner attention away from such negative emotions as resentment and envy , minimizing the possibility of ruminating over them (a hallmark of depression ).
Moreover, the beneficial effects snowball over time. Brain scans of people assigned a task that stimulates expression of gratitude show lasting changes in the prefrontal cortex that heighten sensitivity to future experiences of gratitude. The emotion literally pays itself forward."

A few gratitude tools to try:
  • Pay attention to those things that make you smile
  • Keep a daily journal of things that brought you joy
  • Allow yourself to acknowldge someting sad, bad or that got you angry and then take a moment......counterbalance!
  • Write down "three good things" a day, what they are, how they happened
  • Say thank you
  • Lend a helping hand
  • Think about people who have inspired you and what about them was most significant

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