Four ways to worry less

By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility

It’s only natural that if you’re trying to conceive, either naturally or with the help of medical assistance, there will be times when you find yourself worrying more than usual. This is partly due to the fact that you’re dealing with uncertainty, as you have little control over the workings of Mother Nature. It’s not like you can just try harder, annoyingly baby making doesn’t work like that.

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WORRIES YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF EXPERIENCING:

  • “I’ll never get pregnant”

  • “I’ll never experience parenthood”

  • “I’ll be left behind whilst all my friends have babies”

  • “There’s something wrong with me or my partner”

  • “What if our fertility test results come back abnormal”

  • “I’m not ovulating”

  • “What if I get a Big Fat Negative result”

  • “I won’t be pregnant by [insert date or event]”

  • “Others will gossip about my fertility struggles”

  • “What will I say to people who ask me when we’re going to have babies?”

  • “Our IVF cycle won’t work”

  • “We’ll have no embryos to transfer”

  • “I might get ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome”

  • “We won’t be able to afford more IVF”

  • “I’ll bond with another woman trying for a baby, who’ll then get pregnant”

  • “My partner will leave me”

  • “My relationship might not survive”

  • “Our child will never have a sibling”

  • “I might miscarry, have an ectopic, molar pregnancy or still birth”

If you find yourself having these types of worries, it’s important to remember that they’re just thoughts in your mind, they don’t necessarily reflect reality itself. This is why we don’t want to pay too much attention to them or let them take over our lives. But how do we do this? I’ve got four techniques to help you move from worrier to warrior on your quest to have a baby.

1. TRY THE THREE MINUTE BREATHING SPACE

A tool which I find helpful to use is the three minute breathing space. It allows me to press the pause button when thoughts and feelings threaten to overwhelm me and allows me to focus entirely on myself for three minutes, helping me to regain a sense of perspective and ground me back into the present moment. It’s a simple, short practice, kind of like a mini-meditation, that will help leave you feeling refreshed, calm and more level-headed. And we all know the calmer we are, the less we tend to worry. It's broken down into three parts, which are one minute each. Throughout the practice you want to be in a comfortable position with your eyes shut.

The first minute is spent checking over yourself:

  • Focus your attention on your breathing, whilst not trying to change it

  • Observe any thoughts, acknowledge them – without judgement or criticism – and let them be as they slowly subside

  • Observe any feelings and emotions that arise, without trying to change them

  • Become aware of any sensations in your body – any tension or discomfort – without trying to change anything

The second minute is spent focused on your breathing:

  • Focus entirely on the physical sensation of your breathing

  • Feel how your rib cage rises on your inhale and falls on your exhale. Follow your breath

  • If your mind wanders, just try to gently bring your attention back to the physical sensations of your breath

The third minute you return your focus back to yourself (as per the first minute):

  • Focus your attention on your breathing, whilst not trying to change it

  • Observe any thoughts, acknowledge them – without judgement or criticism – and let them be as they slowly subside

  • Notice if you feel slightly more detached from any negative thoughts

  • Observe any feelings and emotions that arise, without trying to change them

  • Become aware of any sensations in your body – any tension or discomfort – without trying to change anything

This practice really helps during those times when everything feels really difficult in life and with long-term regular practice, it can help you dissolve negative thought patterns before they gain control over you.

2. USE THE RUBBER BAND TECHNIQUE

If you find yourself worrying-beyond-worrying, then this technique may just be the thing to help you quite literally snap out of it. It involves wearing a rubber band around your wrist and snapping yourself every time you find yourself starting to worry about something. This immediately brings your attention back to the present moment, so you can consciously choose to redirect your negative thought into something more positive or mindfully let the thought pass, without getting caught up in it.

3. TALK YOUR WORRIES OUT

If you keep all your worries bottled up inside of you, it can have a detrimental effect to your wellbeing. Think about if there's anyone you'd feel comfortable opening up to. Perhaps it’s your partner, mum or best friend. Talk them through what's going on in your head. Get all those worries out of your system and feel the weight as it's lifted from your shoulders. 

If you’re on your fertility journey with a partner, then remember to work as a team. It’s important you’re there for each other and listen to each other’s worries, that way you can work on a plan to address any concerns in your control or just offer an ear to listen to and a comforting hug. My husband Steve and I find it helpful to check in with each other whilst we’re walking in nature. There’s something about moving whilst expressing emotions and being in a natural environment, that helps us to communicate effectively and clear our heads if there’s a lot on our minds.

You may not feel comfortable talking to someone you know, in which case contact me, I'd be more than happy to help by listening and offering a fresh perspective.

4. WRITE YOUR WORRIES DOWN

Set a time each day to journal, this could be 10 minutes in the evening before you go to bed or first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up. Leave a pen and pad by your bed to act as a trigger. At the same time each day, open a blank page and write all your worries down. Let them spill out on to the page, getting them out of your head and on to paper. Don’t judge any worrisome thoughts you have, just acknowledge their presence by writing them down. This will help you clear your mind, leaving you feeling lighter in the process. If you’re then worried about someone finding and reading what you’ve written, just tear out the page and shred the evidence.


Juliana Kassianos