What if I told you that it was possible to be present, be positive, and be calm even during some of the toughest moments of your fertility journey? On certain days this possibility may seem doable to you, and other days it can be too tough to even fathom. I know—I’ve been there.

When your plan to conceive has unexpected twists and turns and then evolves into a much longer process than anticipated, it can be easy to get caught up in the emotional rollercoaster of failed attempts. I know from undergoing IVF myself and from my clients that the cycle of failure and disappointment can eat away at your mind making you feel isolated, powerless, stressed, and frustrated. However, by tapping into the power of mindfulness, you can begin to learn how to stop the swirl of negative thoughts from taking over your mood and your life.

What exactly is mindfulness? 

The state of being mindful is essentially an awareness of the present moment. We can be mindful of our thoughts, our emotions, our bodies, our surroundings, and our actions. When we are being mindful, we are appreciating the here and now for everything that it is in that moment and not what it was or what it will be in the future. 

How do I practice being mindful?

Through witnessing an object of attention such as our breath, a mantra, or visualization, you become mindful. Let’s try it right now! Witness how slowly you can breathe in and count how long it takes. Then make your exhale last just as long. On your next inhale/exhale try to make it one second longer and continue doing this for however many cycles you need in order to begin to destress. By focusing on your breath, you are tuning in to the present moment rather than thinking of anything else past, present, or future that may be overwhelming you. In that precious moment of present awareness, you were being mindful!

What are the benefits of being mindful while trying to conceive?

Mindfulness can help us in so many aspects of our lives, from work to social interactions to dealing with difficult periods in our lives like going through infertility. Here are four benefits that practicing mindfulness can have on your fertility journey:

Appreciation of the present moment

When you witness the present through mindful breathing, you release your mind from the grips of the past and the what-ifs of the future. When you’re in the throes of trying to conceive, it can feel like you are always thinking about the next steps, such as what’s coming up on your cycle calendar.  In the process, however, you miss out on the life that you are living at this moment.

Reconnect with yourself

During this journey, we can lose sight of who we are as we become hyper-focused on achieving one thing only, having a baby. When we utilize mindfulness tools like breathing techniques, we can tune into ourselves in the present moment and begin to reconnect with ourselves.  When we start to tune into how we are feeling in the present moment, we can then recognize what our mind, body, and soul need at that time in order to feel nourished and whole.

Stop a spiral of negativity and shift to positivity

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When we slow down our breath and use an object of attention, we introduce a pattern interrupt into our minds. So if you’re in a spiral of negative thoughts, a mindfulness technique can help you pause, redirect your attention to something else like your breath or mantra, and then allow you to come from a place of clarity so you can transition to positive thoughts.

Regain a feeling of control

A common feeling people experience when trying—and struggling—to conceive is a loss of control of their life and their fertility journey. Mindfulness and meditation remind us that we do have control over certain parts of our fertility process such as our breath and our mindset. When we control the pace of our breath by slowing it down, we are controlling our mental state by switching it from a state of stress to a state of relaxation.  Once we switch over to a more relaxed state, we can then operate and interact with others and situations from a place of clarity, mindfulness, and positivity. At that moment, we regained control of our present situation.

I encourage you to try practicing mindfulness during your fertility journey by starting out with the breathing technique I mentioned earlier. You can use this strategy both in and out of meditation. 

To try out meditation, set a timer for 2-3 minutes, sit with your eyes closed, and do the breathing technique until the time is up. All you need is just a few minutes each day to practice and begin to form a connection to calm in your brain. As a bonus, you can also do this technique outside of meditation such as while you are sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. By doing this breathing exercise before you speak with your doctor or nurse, you will be in a much calmer state once you start your appointment.

Josephine Atluri is an expert in meditation and in overcoming adversity to find joy. She is also the creator and host of the podcast, "Responding to Life: Living Reflectively Through a Journey of Health, Fertility, and Parenthood."  On the show, Josephine highlights learnings from her thirteen-year journey of love, loss, resilience, and hope to create her modern-day family including five children through non-traditional methods of IVF, adoption, and surrogacy as well as inspirations from guests who have also navigated life’s curveballs to find joy. Josephine’s passion is to help her meditation clients and podcast listeners channel the power of perseverance, positivity, calm, and courage to overcome obstacles and live joyfully and mindfully. For more information on Josephine Atluri Meditation and the Responding to Life podcast, please visit www.jatluri.com  For daily inspiration on Instagram: @josephineratluri and @respondingtolifepodcast.