‘Mindfulness’: a new relaxing technique to increase your well-being
Taking your time, relaxing and focusing your attention on what you feel at that moment is a good strategy to overcome potential emotional ups and downs during the process
The idea of focusing on the present, known as mindfulness, has been used to help with many mental and physical health conditions and is becoming increasingly popular. For anyone going who is having problems getting pregnant, it can help you to accept where you are now on your fertility journey rather than battling against it and to see that focusing on anxieties about what may lie ahead is not helpful.
When you are very focused on your fertility treatment, you may find you are always looking ahead; waiting for appointments, for tests, for the start of a cycle and then for the outcome. You probably spend very little time thinking about the here and now. And yet, trying to switch that focus to the present moment, to focus on the sights, smells and sounds that are all around you, may make more difference than you might expect.
What is wellbeing?
We sometimes think that our wellbeing must be related to our lifestyle, to how much we earn, where we live, what we do – or whether or not we have a child – but in fact, it’s often our attitudes that can make the biggest difference to how we feel.
We have very busy lives nowadays and rush about without taking much time to notice the world around us. The idea that we might stop for a moment and reconnect with ourselves may not sound like something that could make the least bit of difference to a fertility patient – and yet, these techniques of thinking in the here and now are becoming increasingly popular with some of those who are struggling to get pregnant.
How does this relate to fertility?
When you are going through fertility treatment, it can feel as if things are veering out of your control. Your anxieties can grow until you seem to be worrying about everything and it is easy to get sucked into your thoughts, fears and concerns about what is going to happen next. This state of worry can become your reality if you let it, but it is important to remember that these are no more than thoughts.
You may want to try an exercise and see if it helps. Take a moment to concentrate on where you are right now – look at the colour of the sky, at the trees or flowers outside your window, think about how you are feeling, about what you can smell and hear. Rather than engaging with the thoughts that come into your mind about your treatment or your situation, try to let them float away. Slow down, breathe deeply and focus on what is around you, taking a step back from the tangled web of thoughts you may be experiencing and just for a few minutes allow yourself to escape from your worries.
Practising meditation, yoga or tai-chi can help to develop this sense of living more in the present, of focusing on breathing and relaxation and letting go of your worries and concerns. You may feel it’s not your kind of thing, but we can all benefit from slowing down now and again and finding a moment of calm in a busy day – and it may be just what you need!
Writer and journalist
Kate Brian is a journalist, writer and author of four books on motherhood and fertility, including The Complete Guide to IVF. Kate started writing about the patient perspective on infertility after having IVF herself.
Currently, she contributes to various types of media as an expert on fertility and writes her own blog, where she gives all the latest news and views on fertility issues, as well as useful advice and links for anyone trying to have a baby.
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