Practicing meditation or mindfulness has many definitive health benefits, including improved mood, reduced stress, and better sleep. Yet, even with these scientifically proven physical and emotional benefits, it is often a very difficult skill to learn and to practice on a regular basis. The ability to “slow down” or “be present” can be especially challenging in our current world full of distraction and (over)stimulation.
Meditation can be especially helpful during difficult periods in one’s life, but is also useful as a regular practice. During the process of fertility treatments, there can be a tendency to want to escape or distract oneself from thinking about the emotions that are surfacing. Though there is certainly a place for distraction and using activities to forget about everything that is occurring once in awhile, I would make the case that more often than not it is important to pay attention to the present moment and what might be coming up emotionally. Specifically, we are often particularly tuned in to bodily sensations during fertility treatments and the “two week” wait. This can be a perfect time to practice being aware of any physical sensations and the corresponding emotions, but to do so without attaching meaning (ie: this must mean the treatment worked or didn’t, etc) or judgement to them.
As one is learning these skills, it can also be helpful to practice mindfulness during daily activities, such as eating or taking a walk. For instance, one can practice eating a grape mindfully by putting it in your mouth and then paying attention to how it feels and tastes while chewing slowly — this is usually in direct opposition to how we normally eat! Overall, practicing mindfulness puts us in touch with our true feelings, and while they may be painful to endure at times, all of these feelings are important to acknowledge and accept, rather than avoiding them.
If you’re unsure of where to start, there are many avenues with which to learn meditation, including taking a series of classes or workshops (some free at libraries, universities or online), through the help of a therapist, or even through appsor other electronic sources.