Fertility Blog

The Strategies of Coping with Stress

Stress is no stranger to most of our lives. The everyday, chronic strain of a demanding job, driving in traffic, dealing with relationships, family holidays

To provide you with the opportunity to assess your fertility stress, we have added a Stress Test domar© to our website at www.pacificfertilitycenter.com. Click on “for patients” then “support” then “infertility stress test.” The test is brief and it generates a stress level score with comments. You can take it as frequently as you would like.

The goal of stress reduction is to reach what Harvard physician, Herbert Benson calls the “relaxation response.” It’s like stress running backwards. We can calm our racing minds. We can soften our tense bodies. The relaxation response leads to a series of changes that take place in the body and mind as you calm down. Your heart rate, muscle tension, breathing rate, and oxygen consumption fall below resting levels. Your brain wave patterns become slower. There are many ways to elicit the relaxation response. The goal is to find the one that works for you, meaning that it reduces your stress and you will take the time to practice it!

One way to learn about all of these techniques is to participate in our Mind/Body class. We discuss and practice each of the following methods; progressive muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, yoga, visualization, mindfulness meditation, and journaling. It is a wonderful day where you get to meet others going through treatment, learn some new skills, eat some excellent food and de-stress.

In addition to learning specific techniques to reduce stress, it may also be helpful to consider the following suggestions:

-Give up any and all feelings of guilt for how you are feeling. There is no right or wrong way to experience infertility. Your feelings may run the gamut from indifference to intense anger and despair and everywhere in between.

-Choose the gatherings you attend carefully. If being around children or babies upsets you, gracefully decline invitations to events where they are likely to be present. Know your limits and stick with them.

-Continue to get moderate amounts of exercise. Eat healthy and get plenty of rest. You will feel better if you treat your body with care.

-Communicate with your partner to let him/her know of your feelings. Even if you and your partner are feeling differently it may help to share. If you are single, call a friend with whom you feel safe to share your feelings.

-Meet and talk with others who are experiencing similar feelings. Finding that you are not alone helps.

We offer these stress reduction workshops every quarter. There is no charge for PFC patients to attend. Join us!

Posted on February 14th, 2009

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