Decrease Your Stress and Change the Way You Look At It
Lisa Schuman LCSW
Founder of The Center for Family Building
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month and in partnership with The Center for Family Building, we’re bringing you expert tips to help you manage the stress of the infertility journey.
It is important to decrease stress, but it may be equally important to change the way you see it.
In a large study, researchers discovered that people who have high amounts of stress and a belief that stress will affect their health had an increased risk of premature death.
How do you get around this when you genuinely feel that you are so stressed you are “going to have a heart attack,” or if your mantra is “this is killing me?”
Here are a few tips to manage stress and the way you think about stress.
Tap into spirituality. Many spiritual teachers believe that if you change the way you see things, the things you see will change. Whether you believe this or not, adopting this attitude can’t hurt. Professional athletes and performers rehearse their performances in both the real world and their minds. They often picture the golf ball landing exactly where they want it to land, the basketball’s swoosh in the hoop or hitting the perfect note in front of a live audience many times before their actual performance.
Focus on the things you can control. In your family building journey, there is so much that is outside of your control. Instead of driving your own ship, you may feel like a passenger on a voyage with very rough seas. This experience is not only upsetting, but can leave you feeling frustrated and helpless. Rather than focusing on the parts of your journey over which you have little control and spending hours with Dr. Google, searching for more and more information, consider putting your energy into places in your life over which you are able to exert some control. This may be getting your body in better shape, advancing your career or even learning a new language. Putting energy into areas of your life where you see a direct result for your efforts can feel very stabilizing and put you into a more grounded state of mind.
Give. When you do something nice for others, it feels good and can lower your stress. It is not important to spend a great deal of money to give. Buying someone a cup of coffee, listening to a friend in need, offering to plant flowers in the garden of a retirement home or making some cookies for a neighbor are all things that can lift your spirits and the spirits of others as well.
Thinking negatively about stress
You have had tough experiences before. When you think about the ways in which stress will hurt you, remind yourself that you have had, and overcome, difficulties in the past. Think about all of the times you faced a stressful situation and how you managed to overcome it and remain healthy.
Change the story in your mind like you would change the channel on your television or video on your phone. When you begin to think about the ways in which you could get sick, remember that story is just a bad movie in your mind. Change the channel to a better movie or walk away from the screen and refocus on something else.
Look for what is good. If you are a glass half empty person, refocus on the half full part of the glass. There is always something positive and we just need to decide to find it.
The journey to have and raise a family can be difficult. These days it is even more complicated and even more necessary to take care of yourself.
I hope these tips helped, and please feel free to reach out to me any time.