Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis
Living with endometriosis can be a daunting and never ending battle and it may seem unrealistic to be thankful when you are in pain, especially when your pain takes up such a large part of your life. However, studies show that practicing gratitude can have a profound effect on you and your health. In this blog post I share 10 gratitudes that I have found in living with endometriosis and I invite you to join me in this challenge.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is not just painful periods. Endometriosis is a full body inflammatory disease with an immune component. The endometriosis lesions are similar to the tissue that lines the uterus, however, they are outside of the uterus. The lesions are hormone sensitive and respond to the hormones of the menstrual cycle, but, endometriosis is not caused by excess estrogen! Click here to read more about endometriosis
Did you know that gratitude can improve your sleep, decrease your sensitivity to pain, increase your positive emotions, improve your self esteem, foster resilience, increase your happiness and reduce depression, and enhance empathy and reduce aggression
Gratitude is the easiest way to reprogram your brain because unlike other emotions, which are based on what happens next, gratitude involves being thankful for your current situation.
So this week, I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude for your body and for your endometriosis!
If you post to your Instagram story or feed use the hashtag #gratitudeinendo and tag me @chelseaaabri
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 1
I am grateful that I have a newfound awareness of what I put into my body. Before I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I would eat anything regardless if it was terrible for me or not. Feeling terrible was my normal and I didn’t realize that eating all of the fried food, all of the processed food, all of the junk food was causing me more pain. They say you don’t know what you don’t know.
I discovered that by removing gluten and dairy from my diet, not eating fast food, focusing my meals on vegetables, reducing the amount of processed food that I eat, and drinking enough water, I have almost completely alleviated my endometriosis pain! And thankfully becoming more aware of what I put into my body, now I have more good days than bad!
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 2
I am grateful that it has taught me to listen and connect with my body. It is so easy to get disconnected from our bodies in today’s world. Living with endometriosis has taught me to connect to my body, it has connected me to myself and brought me to a deeper level of understanding my body and my endometriosis.
Tracking my endometriosis symptoms using my Endo Babe Journal has been a godsend for me. Really listening and understanding what my body is trying to tell me has helped me understand what foods aggravate my endo, has helped me discern my endometriosis pain from other types of pain, and has connected me to myself at a deeper level.
Here are 3 ways to connect to your body right now
- Do a body scan
- Ask yourself how each part of your body feels right now. Your heart, your mind, your vagina, everything.
- Deep belly breathing
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts and out for 4 counts
- Get your energy flowing by simply connecting your breath to your movement. Do a half squat and inhale then as you stand exhale. Repeat.
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 3
I am grateful endometriosis has connected me with so many amazing Endo Babes! There are so many of you amazing women out there fighting endometriosis and I am so grateful it has brought so many amazing, strong, resilient women into my life.
With so many of us affected by this terrible disease, we need to be shouting from the rooftops. We all need to be sharing our stories, educating the younger generation so they can recognize their symptoms and get diagnosed earlier, and advocating for better healthcare! Together we are strong, together we are resilient!
I love you all!
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 4
I am grateful it has taught me to focus on my health and my self care! Living with a disease that causes so much pain and systemic inflammation, it is important to take care of yourself. Practicing self care is a non negotiable for me. I know that if I want to feel better, I have to show up for myself and self care is one of my favorite ways to do so. I am important and worthy and know that I can't pour from an empty cup! Self care isn’t selfish and it’s an amazing way to combat stress!
Some of my favorite self care practices include
- Getting outside
- Spending time with my dogs and my fiancé
- Movement, even if it’s just a walk outside
- Practicing daily gratitude, affirmations, and journaling
- Learning ways to express my creativity
- Eating healthy food that nourishes my body and makes me feel good
- Making time for me
Some other self care examples:
Eating healthy food, not eating your trigger foods, taking naps, if you can - a little exercise is great for us (yoga is amazing), doing activities that bring you joy and don't stress you out, going to bed early, drink in moderation or not at all, meditate, don't forget your morning routine!
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 5
I am grateful it has given me something to fight for, making me an advocate for my own health. I had symptoms of endometriosis starting at age 16. I saw multiple doctors, all who stated and assumed that the pain was all in my head, that the pain was caused by IBS, that the pain was caused by Crohn's disease, that it was just menstrual cramps and they can’t be that bad, that I am a drug seeker, that I am making up the pain for attention. The list goes on and on. I wasn’t actually diagnosed with endometriosis until I was 21 years old through an exploratory Lap surgery that showed endometriosis all over my bowels. That is only 5 years, the average diagnosis takes up to 10 years! I am 1 in 10 women living with a chronic disease that is as prevalent as diabetes but most people don't even know what it is. We have to be advocates for our own health.
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 6
I am grateful it has taught me to slow down and learn when my body needs to rest and recharge. Living with a chronically painful, sometimes debilitating disease, I have learned that my body needs rest days. And you know what? IT👏🏻 IS👏🏻 OKAY👏🏻 TO 👏🏻REST!
Endometriosis causes systemic inflammation leading to chronic fatigue. The go-go-go lifestyle of our society causes stress within body which also leads to systemic inflammation. That coupled with chronic fatigue exacerbates endometriosis pain. For those of us with chronic illness, rest days are very important!
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 7
I am grateful it has taught me compassion and a greater capacity to relate to the pain of others. Living with chronic illness can be an exhausting, draining, life sucking monster. It will come up and wrap its hands around your throat and pull you into the darkness if you let it. The constant pain physically, mentally, and emotionally is enough to keep you down for the rest of your life. Just because someone looks okay on the outside does not mean they are okay. Many women, men, and children live with invisible illness or even mental illness without saying a word. Compassion and kindness go so far, and being a kind and compassionate human takes zero effort.
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 8
I am grateful that endometriosis has shown me how to appreciate life. When you no longer have your health, you learn to not take anything for granted. Endo has taught me what is truly important in life and it has taught me to love fiercely and to appreciate what I have. I began to appreciate the little moments, the people in my life, my good days, what I can do, growth, change, and myself.
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 9
I am grateful endometriosis has taught me how to love my body in the face of endometriosis. It has taught me that, yes, its okay to be angry about having a lifelong painfully debilitating condition, but what is not okay is living in that anger. I’ve learned that it’s not okay to constantly tell my body “Fuck you, Fuck Endo, I hate you, I wish I had a different body." If you constantly talk to your body like you hate her, there is no way she is going to start feeling better. If you were told fuck you and that you were hated every day, how would you feel? Probably terrible. Endometriosis has taught me to speak to my body and my uterus like I love her. She is working really hard and trying the best she can. It’s not her fault that we got sick and it’s not my fault that I have endometriosis. Being angry isn’t helping me to feel better and I am grateful that endometriosis has taught me to become partners with and love my body.
Finding Gratitude in Endometriosis # 10
Finally, I am grateful endometriosis has taught me how strong I am emotionally, physically, and mentally. Living with a painfully debilitating disease has been the hardest thing that I’ve had to overcome. It would be easy to let it consume my life, but I refuse to allow that. It has forced me to evolve my mindset around pain and learn new ways to cope every day. It has taught me to become more positive in my life and ditch negativity. It has taught me that I am able to bear an amazing amount of pain, and that I am strong enough to withstand anything life hands me.
And so can you Babe!
I hope this was helpful babes! I love you all and I hope you have a stress free, pain free holiday <3
Chelsea Donahue | Endometriosis Coach
PS. Be sure to join my FREE endometriosis support community here
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