Live in the moment.
Stop and smell the roses.
These are all phrases that you might commonly hear from philosophers, religious leaders, and coaches everywhere. And not without good reason. For starters, your life is actually happening only in the present moment! Additionally, though, living in the moment has so many amazing benefits that really and truly can help you feel profoundly better as you work through infertility. Let’s take a brief look at several of them now.
How Staying Present Can Help You Feel Better
Reduced Anxiety and Rumination
Anxiety is driven by fears about what might or could happen at some moment in the future. For example, “What if this round of IVF doesn’t work?” or “I might never become a mother.” And rumination is just a fancy term for repetitive worry–when you get one of those fears stuck playing on repeat in your mind.
When you focus on the present moment, you short-circuit your need to worry about something that may or may not happen in the future (and you don’t need to dwell on the past, either.)
Better Stress Management
Mindfulness helps you respond to the myriad stressors of infertility more effectively. By staying present, you can approach challenging situations with a calmer and more balanced mindset, finding healthier ways to cope with whatever pregnancy announcement, test result, or other unexpected surprise gets thrown your way.
By focusing on the present moment, you become more adaptable and resilient. You become better equipped to handle difficulty because you are able to respond to challenges in the moment instead of getting caught up in worry or regret.
Improved Mental Clarity and Focus
When you direct your attention to the present, you’re better able to concentrate and think clearly. And when you’re working your way through infertility, clear thinking is so important. Among many other things, it helps you ask your doctors the right questions, it helps you make informed and rational decisions about your next steps, and it helps you feel much more in control.
Enhanced Emotional Well-Being
Being fully present allows you to truly experience and appreciate positive emotions, which can sometimes be tough to do when you’re dealing with infertility. Even though you often feel like everything in your life is a little “off” because of infertility, mindfulness can help you find joy, contentment, and gratitude (which I promise really do still exist), and will give you a much greater sense of overall well-being.
Living in the present moment helps you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and even physical sensations.This increased self-awareness can help you figure out how to best support and help yourself on your fertility journey, might help you notice important things that are happening in your body, and can help you make good well-informed choices.
And now, without further ado:
3 Fun Summer Mindfulness Activities to Help You Stay Present
1. Spend Time in Nature
There is nothing better than getting out into nature to help get you into the present moment. And when the weather is nice, there are so many options available to you. From going on a nature walk, to sitting on a park bench and watching the leaves blow, it’s easy to lose yourself in the moment and really reconnect with yourself.
Ask yourself the following questions to really immerse yourself in your surroundings:
What are all the things you're able to see around you? What colors stand out to you? What noises are you hearing? Listen closely, do you hear things you weren't expecting?
How does the sunlight or the shade feel on your skin?
How does your body feel while you're in this place? Is it a different feeling than usual?
2. Blow Bubbles
Yup, you read that right. Try buying a bottle of bubbles and find someplace to just sit and blow some. It’s so easy to get caught up in the act of blowing them, noticing the shimmering rainbow inside each bubble, and then watching them float away. It’s a great activity to help you “get out of your own head” and allow yourself just to be in the moment.
Pay attention to how your body feels as you blow the bubbles.
What parts of your body are involved in the act of blowing?
How does your breath feel as it leaves your mouth?
3. Enjoy Your Favorite Summertime Treat
From iced coffee to ice cream, and everything in between, sitting down for a quiet moment with your favorite treat can be a great way to practice mindfulness.
As you sip or eat, really pay attention to all the sensations you’re feeling:
How does your treat feel on your tongue and in your mouth?
What does it taste like? Is it as you remember, or are you noticing anything different?
What does it feel like when you swallow it? What sensations do you notice in your throat?
How does it make you feel to eat or drink your treat? Happy? Refreshed? Satisfied?