fertility and stress
According to this Harvard research study, levels of stress, depression, and anxiety experienced by individuals facing infertility, are comparable to those found in people diagnosed with life-threatening illness such as cancer, HIV and heart disease. The stress itself constitutes a serious health concern, especially considering that one in six couples will have difficulty conceiving.
Research clearly shows that stress plays a significant role in the cause of infertility. The relationship between the two can be seen in the Hypothalamus Gland's functioning. While only the size of a pea, this vital part of the brain controls many important aspects of physiology, namely, the regulation of the stress response. Since stress hormones are antagonistic to reproductive hormones, the care and tending of this delicate process is crucial.
The good news is that these changes are not permanent. By learning tools to initiate relaxation, as part of a holistic health program, you can put the brakes on this 'fight or flight' stress response. In addition to learning how to take good care of your physical body, attending a group cognitive-behavioural treatment program and learning how to use Mindfulness Meditation measurably decreases stress levels and increases viable pregnancy rates.
what is mindfulness
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. ~Viktor Frankl
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn , mindfulness is moment to moment non-judgemental awareness of the present unfolding of experience.
Mindfulness is a practice that cultivates our ability to slow down enough to notice our own habitual perceptions and reactions. It is only when we are able to see these patterns, that we have the opportunity to change them. Mindfulness practice is a shift from auto-pilot into intentional, present awareness. It is not so much about making stress go away; it’s about changing our relationship to stress, and having the tools to prevent stress from hijacking our wellbeing.
Mindfulness actually re-wires the brain and strengthens the neural pathways for resilience. It dampens activity in the amygdala, and increases its connection to the prefrontal cortex. This helps us to be less reactive to stressors and to recover more effectively and sustainably from stress.
Mindfulness is beneficial only when experienced through practice. Simply knowing about mindfulness does not count as practice, just as reading about weight-lifting doesn’t build muscle; we need to actually lift weights to enjoy the benefits. Just like with exercise, mindfulness needs to be practiced, and the more we do it, the greater the benefit.
Conquering Infertility by Dr. Alice Domar
The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis
Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat Zin
Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
Altered Traits: Science reveals how meditation changes your mind, brain, and body by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson
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