In my last post I talked about breathing techniques, exercise, and keeping a journal as ways to cope with the stress of infertility. Here are three more ways for you to feel more like yourself and possibly even boost your fertility.
Practice Positive Thinking
Believe it or not, everything you think, your body hears and reacts to.
When your thoughts are full of negativity and self-doubt, your body responds in kind and you get something of a self-fulfilling prophesy. Negative self-talk can have a tremendous effect on your mood, stress level, self-confidence, and overall health and fertility.
On the other hand, when your thoughts are more positive, imbued with self-confidence, self-love, and self-respect, you get much better results. You still may find yourself struggling with your fertility, but at least you won’t be constantly beating yourself up at the same time!
(To be clear, I’m not encouraging so-called “toxic positivity.” Having a positive mindset or positive attitude is not about unicorns and rainbows around every corner. That’s simply not real life. Bad, sad and frustrating things happen all the time and your goal is not to suppress them or ignore them. Instead, having a positive mindset can help you deal with the bad in a more productive, solutions-based way.)
Here's a little experiment for you to try:
Over the course of a few days, jot down every negative thought you have about yourself and your fertility. When you’ve got a decent list, go back over it and ask yourself the following questions about each thought:
Is this thought helpful?
Is this thought based on facts, or is it just my opinion?
What evidence do I have that this thought is true?
What evidence do I have that this thought is false?
Can you now restate or reframe your thought in a more helpful way? (As an example, if your thought is, “I’m never going to be a mother,” you might work through all the questions and realize that a more useful thought is, “I might not be able to get pregnant, but there are other ways for me to become a mother.”)
All you need is a quiet place and 5-10 minutes each day to get some great benefits from meditation. As with the breathing techniques, there are many different styles of meditation. But one of the easiest to learn is mindful meditation.
Sit or lie quietly and focus on your breath. Pay attention to the air traveling in through your nose, and then back out through your mouth. As thoughts pop into your head as they likely will, just notice that they’re there and bring your focus back to your breathing and the present moment. If you find that it’s easier for you to focus on a word or phrase such as “peace,” or “I am strong,” as you breathe, go ahead and do so.
Many people feel like their mind is all over the place when they first try meditation. Don’t worry. With a bit of practice it will become easier, so don’t give up after just one or two tries.
Be Good To Yourself
What are all the things that you like to do just for you? Make a list of everything that makes you feel happy and relaxed. Then make sure to do one or two of them each week.
For many of us, carving out time just for ourselves can feel like an unnecessary luxury. Believe me when I say it's actually completely necessary. Giving yourself time to unwind and do something that brings you joy is so important for managing fertility stress and helping you feel like yourself!
Here are some ideas for self-care activities. Remember, it's not about how big or grand an activity you choose, it's about how it makes you feel.
Go out to lunch or dinner with good friends.
Read a good book.
Get your nails done.
Take a warm bath.
Sit quietly on a park bench on a nice day.
Work on a craft project.
Do some cooking.
Go to the movies.