Month: November 2014
Are you struggling to get pregnant? We live in an age where more and more couples struggle to conceive a baby; so, although it may offer you little consolation, you are not alone.
When I first started my practice, the first person to contact me was a lady who was struggling to get pregnant. She asked for my help because she blamed the negative emotions she was experiencing for her inability to conceive. Her belief, and mine, was that moving past her negative emotions would help her conceive and have the baby she so wanted so desperately.
After three sessions she was much happier, more relaxed and positive. Several months later, I heard from her to say she was pregnant, and over a year later I bumped into her with her new little girl at a post-natal baby weigh-in (where I was taking my daughter, I hasten to add)!
What is this About?
Since the 1980s the link between negative mental and emotional states of mind and infertility has become more understood. Our states of mind can have a real impact on our ability to conceive. This is something that believe so strongly that I was rather surprised and taken aback today when a gentleman questioned “how on earth could I help with fertility and pregnancy?”
Research supports the fact that your state of mind affects your ability to conceive
How indeed? Well although when one normally thinks about fertility, test tubes and medical interventions spring to mind, we need to also take a real consideration for how our state of mind and emotions can have an affect on our body. An eminent researcher in the field or fertility, Dr. Alice Domar has proven the benefits of improving your state of mind in regards to improving your chances of conception. An assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the author of numerous books, Dr Domar has been involved in various research projects proving the benefits of mind/body practices for overcoming infertility and helping couples conceive. In 2000 she published the results of one study in The Journal of Fertility and Sterility. The study involved 184 women who had been trying to conceive for between one and two years. Her article explained that the women who underwent her mind/body programme were almost three times more likely to conceive and get pregnant than those who didn’t. Her programme involved the women learning emotional release, nutrition advice and relaxation training. After her programme 55% of the women conceived, as opposed to 20% of the control group.
I often work with people to change their limiting beliefs, because they can sabotage you at a subconscious level. Limiting beliefs are negative thoughts, such as ‘I am not good enough’, ‘That will never happen’ etc. It was inspiring to see Dr Domar also working to change limiting beliefs such as “I will never have a baby” into more positive ones such as “I’m doing everything I can to get pregnant”.
For those of us interested in the mind/body connection Dr Domar’s reserach should not come as any big surprise. But if you are just starting to understand the amazing link between our bodies and our mind, it may come as a revelation. The mind/ body link enables us to see how our mindset may be affecting our body’s ability to conceive. In order to have the best chance of conceiving your hormones need to be in balance. Hormones are chemical messengers often created as a result of our thoughts. So, if our conscious or subconscious thoughts are negative, these chemical messengers will adversely affect the body’s hormone balance.
Stress causes a decrease in your progesterone levels
An example of this mind/body hormonal link can be seen in the realm of stress. Constant stress causes a decrease in your progesterone levels. The hormone progesterone is needed if you want be become pregnant and stay pregnant because it nourishes the lining of the uterus in preparation of the implanted fertilized egg and feeds and nourishes the uterus during pregnancy. So if you are stressed, this may be having an adverse affect on your progesterone levels which may be reducing your chances of conception.
Why is this Important?
Assuming you have seen your GP and ruled out all the physical reasons that might be preventing you from becoming pregnant, you may be confused and lost for a reason as to why this seemingly natural process is eluding you. If you can identify with that description, this post is important for you because it may be your state of mind that is causing the struggle.
Ironically, unless you understand the importance of this knowledge, the delayed ability to conceive can often lead to a downward spiral of unhelpful emotions and thoughts such as failure, guilt, jealousy, anger, etc that all add up to more stress, which impacts on your ability to conceive.
How do I use This?
Now you know how stress and negative thoughts and emotions may be impacting on your ability to conceive, you have the choice to act on that knowledge. You have the ability to change your thinking patterns and trigger your relaxation response. It can be difficult to change on your own, but help is available and I will give you a link to some free downloads to help you in a minute.
Often the stresses of daily life simply rob us of the motivation and energy to change. I wonder if I asked you to scale your motivation between 1 and 10 where you would honestly say it was? Once you have decided on a figure ask yourself why it is not less? You may be surprised at just how motivated you are to change once you think about it in this way.
Often all that you really need is the motivation to change because once you have that motivation then things like the belief you can change and the knowledge of how to begin that change begin to slot into place.
Free Help for a Better Mind, a Better Body and a Better life!
Sign up for a Newsletter and get news later this month of a Deep Relaxation download to help you relax.
Other pages you might find useful:
These days I often introduce the idea of a Gratitude Journal by telling the story of Gabi MacEwan. An inspirational lady who decided to start practising gratitude after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. As she says:
“I don’t live in a constant state of bliss. Sometimes I’m frustrated, disillusioned and sad, but I heartily recommend the cumulative effect of noticing and noting the moments of delight, relief or humour each day.”
So with that recommendation I want to give you some strategies for keeping the gratitude alive when life sucks, because being told to keep a Gratitude Journal when you feel your life is going down the pan, things look bleak and your feeling low can be a big ‘ask’. It’s times like this that doing a gratitude journal can be really tough. I’ve had clients say there was just nothing in their day that they felt grateful for, some have said they were writing the same old things and grew tired of the ‘chore’. Ironically of course when life is unfairly hard is exactly when you benefit from the practice the most.
What is this About?
I recently posted on the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal, but as with many good habits you may find yourself too busy to do it when you are feeling good, and too tough when your not. So if you are like some of my original clients, you will keep a journal for a few days and then the practice of being grateful will begin to slide.
The answer is to make it habit and for that happen you need to commit to doing the practice until it becomes a subconscious reaction to think of things you are grateful for. Some people say it takes 21 days to make a habit stick, others 66, whoever is right, you will probably benefit from a strategy and support to really embed this new behaviour and way of thinking.
So having some strategies and support will help you make this positive activity a habit and today I want to focus on one of those strategies that makes keeping a gratefulness journal easy.
Why is this Important?
Because lets face it, there are times when life sucks! Whatever the reason for the ‘suckyness’, the simple act of writing down (or saying out-loud) the things for which we’re grateful gives benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and kids alike. Brilliant medicine when life feels like it is going down the pan and things looks bleak.
How do I Use This?
Personally I find that buying a nice journal helped me to keep me committed to the task and you may want to do the same thing. Make a conscious choice now and commit to experiencing more gratitude in your life. Then try these strategies:
- Set aside some time so you can allow yourself the opportunity to really notice the depth of your gratitude. Take time to relish and savour the feelings.
- Pick one person you know and just take time to allow all of the good reasons for having them in your life surface into your consciousness. Whenever possible focus on people and dogs in your life. Apparently whether we think of our pet dogs or children the same area of our brains are activated. So being grateful for your dog is ok!
- Go into depth – Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
If you can think of these things in terms of gifts so much the better, according to Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading experts on the science of gratitude. His advice is:
“Be aware of your feelings and how you “relish” and “savor” this gift in your imagination. Take the time to be especially aware of the depth of your gratitude.”
I wonder if you maybe surprised at what you have been grateful for today?
The power of gratitude
Gabi MacEwan Blog: Losing the Will To Die