Fertility treatment can affect many aspects of your life. Feeling worn down by the stress of treatment is the main reason patients drop out before achieving their goal. Women undergoing fertility treatment often struggle with negative thoughts that contribute to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety. All of these challenges can be lessened quickly through a simple mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness training for fertility combines well-tested techniques from psychology and meditation. The goal is to achieve relaxation, self-insight, and to help manage negative thoughts and feelings. Learn how to be more aware of your thinking patterns and the steps you can take to be more in the present. By being more “present” you can gain more control of your emotions and approach fertility challenges more effectively. Common benefits are decreased stress and anxiety along with increased relaxation, calm, clarity and inner peace
Mindfulness, defined as paying attention on purpose without judgment, can help you become aware of your inner world of thoughts and emotions. The benefits of regular mindful practice have been well-documented in studies from institutions including University of North Carolina, Carnegie Mellon University and National Institutes of Health. The American Psychological Association also cites mindfulness as a hopeful strategy for alleviating depression, anxiety, and pain.
Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as doing deep belly breathing, triggering calming changes in the body and mind. To feel immediate relief, follow the six steps below:
- Pick a position that is comfortable for you such as sitting upright or laying down on your back.
- Close your eyes and rest your hands on your lower belly below your navel, relaxing your abdomen.
- Slowly breathe in and out through your nose, taking a deep breath to send air into your stomach. Feel your belly rise with each inhale and fall as you exhale. As you breathe, allow your hands to stay resting on your belly as it moves.
- Continue belly breathing for 20 seconds or even a minute or two, making sure to take deep, full breaths.
- When your mind wanders, gently dismiss your thoughts and refocus your attention to your breath.
- When you are done, slowly open your eyes but stay still and quiet.
This technique is so simple, quick and effective, you can use it throughout the day to feel calmer, lighter, and happier. It is my hope that you feel relief and happiness, and I wish you the best on your journey to success.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Susan Rizzato, MSW, LCSW, Fertility Counselor with Fertility Centers of Illinois