Now, more than ever, it is important to calm and center the mind.

As a fertility patient, you may be facing disappointment, sadness, frustration, and anxiety over delayed treatment. We understand that it is an understatement to say that this sudden change is disheartening and disappointing. It’s devastating! And to face this while being simultaneously thrust into isolation and a whirlwind of unknown change in countless areas of your life is overwhelming.

Please know that we remain 100% committed to doing everything we can for you, and hope to resume the path to building your family as soon as we are able. With that commitment to your family building goals also comes a commitment to your mental health and emotional wellbeing. We’d like to share a simple DIY strategy that can help lift you from sadness, slow down anxious thoughts and bring mental peace during your day.

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 greater 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 the 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:

  1. Pick a position that is comfortable for you such as sitting upright or laying down on your back.
  2. Close your eyes and rest your hands on your lower belly below your navel, relaxing your abdomen.
  3. 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.
  4. Continue belly breathing for 20 seconds or even a minute or two, making sure to take deep, full breaths.
  5. When your mind wanders, gently dismiss your thoughts and refocus your attention to your breath.
  6. 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 as we navigate these challenging times.

“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