Effective coping strategies for individuals facing fertility challenges!                     Keonna Freeman, MS, CFLE 

How can I help you? 


Fertility challenges can create emotional barriers such as sadness, anxiety, guilt or social isolation. These barriers can have a negative impact on individuals' well-being. Luk and Loke (2016) explain the degree of the effects infertility has on individuals and families, including them feeling ashamed or afraid of being stigmatized, which leads to stress and depression. 

My goal is to assist with coping strategies that will help you maintain quality of life, and a quality family system while on your fertility journey. 

Are you consumed with thoughts or questions? Many individuals wonder why, how and when.. "Why is this happening?" "How is this happening?" "When will I/we overcome this challenge?"

Relaxation techniques for managing stress, anxiety and more

How do you manage, in the presence of facing your fertility challenge, to carry out and complete your daily obligations? Do you take time out of your day to practice self-care? This can be done simply by taking the time to relax, clear your mind and focus on positivity. Research shows that positive thinking leads to positive outcomes and good health.

Below are a few techniques that can be used to reduce your infertility-related stress, anxiety or other adverse feelings you may be experiencing. While these do not constitute treatment or a cure for infertility, they will assist with successful coping and stress reduction. A great suggestion with these techniques is to play relaxation sounds such as waterfalls, birds chirping, sounds of thunder or leaves blowing. Sounds of nature have a restorative effect on our mind, body, and soul. Lighting a white candle is also suggestive, as it represents peace, harmony, and wholeness.  

Deep Breathing
While sitting or lying flat, take 5 deep breaths, in through your nose (allow your belly to push out while breathing in) and out through your mouth. This is a simple technique that will allow your mind and body to completely relax.

Meditation
Meditation is another technique that helps with quality mental health. To meditate, simply find an area where you can sit alone, close your eyes and bring your inner peace out. You can practice meditation with or without nature sounds, with or without your white candle(s) lit, but always with a clear mind to make room for positive imagery. 

Positive or Guided Imagery
Positive imagery involves you heightening all of your senses as you sit with your eyes closed and think "lovely thoughts." Take about 10 minutes out of your day to sit still, relax and be in that positive realm where your imagination takes you. Imagine a positive scene like a beautiful vacation getaway on the beach. 

The imagery might look like this in your mind
:

  1. You can see the beauty of the sun against the sand and seashells that surround you, 
  2. Feel the summer air or ocean water against your skin, 
  3. Taste the delightfulness of salt-water taffies, 
  4. Hear the sounds of waves crashing against the shore, and
  5. Smell the fresh saltwater.

Positive imagery can be as in-depth as the above vacation getaway, or as simple as imagining you found your favorite shirt you thought you lost. Research shows that positive imagery impacts health, wellness, attitude, mental health, and performance.    

*Practice these relaxation techniques daily to reduce your infertility-related stressors.*  

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References

Luk, B. H.-K., & Loke, A. Y. (2016). A review of supportive interventions targeting individuals or couples undergoing infertility treatment: Directions for the development of interventions. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 42(6), 515-533. https://doi-org.mylibrary.wilmu.edu/10.1080/0092623X.2015.1074133

Guided Imagery 101 (2019). Retrieved from Health Journeys: https://www.healthjourneys.com

McQuillan, J., Greil, A. L., White, L., & Jacob, M. C. (2003). Frustrated Fertility: Infertility and Psychological Distress Among Women. Journal of Marriage & Family, 65(4), 1007-1018. 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2003.01007.x

Why nature sounds help you relax, according to science. (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.health.com