How do you stop thinking about infertility – when you’re trying to conceive? Discover how Mindfulness and National Infertility Awareness Week were made for each other! Mindfulness isn’t just for chilled-out baldy monks with nothing on their minds. Research backs it for helping anyone feeling less than zen. Humans are hard-wired for anxiety and infertility fuels stress and worry. Just in case you hadn’t noticed.
How Does Mindfulness Work?
Regular Mindfulness practice tones down the brain’s ‘flight or fight’ centre, the Amygdala. Viewed on brain scans after regular mindfulness practice, the brain’s “fight or flight” centre, the amygdala, appears to shrink. This brain part deals with fear and emotion. It works the body’s response to stress. As it shrinks, another area – the pre-frontal cortex – centering on focus, attention and decision-making grows!
Follow my simple ways to get the best from mindfulness, during National Infertility Awareness Week – and beyond!
- Shut up! Notice the bitchy voice in your head. Would you talk to anyone else like that and get away with it? A critical mental commentary impacts mood, libido and sleep. When you pay attention to it and stop being all judgy you become a nicer person.
- Mindfulness is not a state of blissed-out mental calm. Described as a ‘state of focused awareness’ you pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Minds wander quickly, after about 20 seconds they’re gone again. Bringing it back and focusing again, and again, is mindfulness. You can do it. May not be particularly interesting or pleasant but who cares when your head clears and you feel calmer and less likely to lose the plot? The science here says you’re ‘making new neural pathways’ by doing this and that’s good for your brain. Multi-tasking is a myth. One thing at a time is the best way to get stuff done. Honest!
- Notice what’s going on in your head. Get familiar with it. A lot of it is on ‘repeat’ – but unlike Friends it’s not funny. Can you guess why? Humans survived better if they focused on the dangers of life in the Stone Age. Our brains haven’t quite caught up … yet. Get comfy with the stuff in your head. The good, the bad and the ugly. No-one’s happy all the time. That’s why we have birthday parties, weddings, Friday cocktails and Sunday brekkie in bed. Wouldn’t be the same if endless, rainy, bad-news Thursdays didn’t happen. Life is unfair and sh*t happens. It’s called living.
- Me, myself, I. Is your life all about the magical story of Me? Sadly, this common obsession drags you down. Start by listening properly in conversations. Not thinking about your important input. Give someone the honour of your full attention and notice what happens. You come across as more intelligent. People who do this in interviews ace it. I digress. Let me mindfully return to the blog in hand, with a freshly-sculpted neural pathway!
- Life is here, right now. Sounds a bit deep but this moment once it passes is over.Wake up to your life and live it. Automatic pilot robs us of the little moments.
- Kids grow up and forget to play and have fun. When’s the last time you laughed like a drain over something silly? Remember how good it felt? Serious doesn’t mean more efficient or productive. Bring back the fun and inform people that you’re ‘doing mindfulness’ if they complain. The Dalai Lama’s got a wicked sense of humour!
- Eat mindfully and shed a few pounds while you’re at it. Pop your fork into the other hand so’s you eat more slowly. Smell the aroma, notice the colours and savour the flavour of your meal. I’m using proper English spellings ‘ …our’ and there’s red lines everywhere now.
- Shower mindfully feel the warm water on your skin, fell the silky soap lathering you, the fluffy comfort of your towel pampering you.
- Make love mindfully and generously. Focus on every sensation your body enjoys and share pleasures, simply because … it feels good.
- S.T.O.P. is a simple way to calm yourself during a hectic day. Use it before a meeting, after the school run …
T. Take a few easy breaths
O. Observe your body. Any holding or tightness? Allow tension to soften
P. Proceed to decide what’s the most useful thing to pay attention to now. If you’re anxious maybe a little kindness, less drama and some perspective helps. How will this appear in a week’s time?
Loads of ways to be simply mindful every day in your own time.
What’s your favourite?