How do you recommend keeping stress levels down to achieve conception
How do you recommend keeping stress levels down at a physically, mentally, emotionally demanding job in order to achieve conception? Often there is no time for breaks, even little for lunch. I’m not sure about time for meditation. I use essential oils and deep breathing.
A: It’s nice to have extra tools that you can use and this can apply for anybody who is going through challenges as far as stress is concerned.
One is a method of breathing that I love called box breathing.
Simply, you breath and count in sets of five. Breathing through your nose, because breathing through your nose kind of reduces the stress levels immediately by activating a certain part of your physiology that breathing through your mouth doesn’t.
So breath in for five count, hold your inhale for five counts, exhale for five counts and hold your exhale for five count. Repeat this about five to 10 times if you feel stressed in any moment of the day and it will help you feel a lot more calm.
The other thing that I highly recommend when it comes to stress is simply to be present in the now. I know that sounds a bit airy fairy, like something you’d see on Bondi Hipsters, but there’s a real world physiological reason to become more present.
Times have changed, we no longer have the same level of stress causing fight-or-flight response challenges that we had when say running away from a sabre-toothed tiger. Our body physiology however still works very much like it did way back when, by stopping “peripheral” activity in its track until the much more pressing need – formerly to survive being eaten alive – has passed.
Anything that’s not essential for running away, escaping, hiding from or warding off the immediate danger of death by feline gets shut down. I’m talking major functioning systems, digestion, immunity, reproduction, are of absolutely no matter if you don’t survive the next five minutes. Our sympathetic nervous system not only knows this, it is designed to automatically kick in to suppress “periphial” activities and promote activity that is most likely to save your life.
The problem with worrying about the future or the past is that your body remains in the hyper vigilant mode to the detriment of other necessary life functions such as sleep. I’m sure many of you have tossed and turned unable to sleep at some stage because of thoughts on your mind.
To reiterate my point, instead of being one, two, three, four, five steps ahead in our minds, discover how to live in the present. Once you discover how to be present in the now, it changes everything very quickly.
It doesn’t take a lunch break. It doesn’t take a coffee break. Stop and just be present, right now. Shutting your eyes can help your mind from being distracted. Feel the weight lift as everything else disappears, dissipates – the stress, the worry, the what if’s, all of it just goes.
That’s what I want for you. I want you to be in the present because being in the present is the only place that you can change the future. It’s the only place that you can change anything. It’s the only place that you can actually make things happen. The moment of decisions is what shapes our lives, and now is the moment of decision. This very moment is the decision to be in the now, the decision to be in the present. That is what’s going to make a difference.
Q: Thanks for the breathing exercise. I also try to be present in the now. It is difficulty when you’re constantly being pulled in so many directions and making life-or-death decisions, literally. I just wanted to make sure [managing stress] is covered at some point. I actually started having my first miscarriage at work during a stressful day. Part of why I’m considering another job but want to be sure that I learned to manage it as best as I can.
A: This is a really interesting thing about life-and-death situations. In life-and-death situations, we are 100% switched on to the now. We are so focused on, “Okay, what is it that needs to happen right now in this moment that’s going to make a difference to this?” Yes, we think about the consequences and we are able to accept the consequences so well and so quickly in those moments of stress because our brains really become so engaged when we are in those moments of life altering, fight-or-flight decisions.
Problem is it’s almost like we’ve become trained to react and respond in that way for even the day-to-day trivial things. Things get dramatised in our response to them so that “what’s for dinner?” becomes more akin to, “if we don’t eat we die”. Ok, not literally but the time and effort we can spent thinking about what to eat is probably more than that of people that actually are starving. First world problems, you know what I mean?
Trivial matters aside when something major is going on that is causing you major stress, that’s when you just go, “Okay, stop.” Interrupt the pattern, stop. This is the moment, right now, when you choose what you’re going to be do differently. What I’m saying here is that we need to practice; we need to train ourselves to actually come back to the present at any moment’s notice. Trust me, it works for stress relief.
Register for the next free #FertilityChallenge an online education and activity event, designed to guide and inspire couples who have been struggling to conceive and/or keep a healthy pregnancy to term and take home a healthy baby for over 2 years. This is a free, online event – so you can participate from wherever you are in the world. Join us here.