Raise your hand if you feel like you are riding an emotional roller coaster these days? Grappling with infertility is an emotional struggle unto itself. Given the new level of uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic has created in our lives, more than ever, each day presents a new adventure in navigating the emotional highs and lows. However, if we explore these emotional experiences with more curiosity about ourselves and less judgment about how we respond, this roller coaster ride can become less threatening and instead create opportunities for growth, confidence and hope.
I wonder if you can think back to a time when you were at an amusement park and were contemplating a thrill inducing ride? You might experience a few moments of doubt and fear as your place in line progresses? What if I get hurt? What if the ride gets stuck? What if the worst happens? Of course, you can tell yourself you’ll be fine, but that doesn’t curtail your nagging fears completely. You’re still nervous.
But, what if you inserted a quick reality check? You look around and observe that the people getting off the ride are laughing, smiling and clapping with enthusiasm. Immediately you shift your thoughts and deduce that your chances of survival and pleasure are quite likely based on what you are observing in others. You might pair this reality check with an affirmation or mantra that conquering fears can be exhilarating. Your mantra is instantly more believable to you now, because you’ve provided some proof to your mind by noticing the experiences of others as they exit the ride.
This reality check paired with a mantra or affirmation technique can be a powerful tool in navigating the emotional roller coaster you may be experiencing these days. There are a few steps to make this work most effectively. By following these steps, it’s possible to recognize exactly what our emotions are telling us, and take action to shift that emotion if we dislike the feeling it creates.
-The first step is identifying exactly what the emotion IS that we are experiencing.
-Second, is doing a reality check to validate its significance.
-And third, is taking action to modify the emotional response so that we can satisfy the need our emotion is expressing.
When this 3-step process is sealed with a mantra or affirmation, our brain starts to recognize these emotional patterns and direct us to make positive changes. The mantra or affirmation helps to recognize and reinforce desirable thought patterns.
The key is to explore the emotion with curiosity rather than judging ourselves harshly for having the emotion, or quickly trying to distract ourselves away from the emotion because it makes us feel uncomfortable. So let’s explore some typical emotions that we tend to dislike, and learn how to use the reality check + mantra combination to disarm them.
With so many of our activities limited these days by stay at home orders, we are all experiencing new levels of boredom. Boredom occurs when we feel repetitive and routine, understimulated and desiring a change or new opportunity. So what is this emotion really telling us? Boredom tells us that we need growth or challenge. Boredom can be a wonderful impetus to creativity. If you notice yourself standing in front of the open fridge or pantry, and you determine that you’re not actually hungry, but bored instead, challenge yourself to stimulate your creativity. Use your imagination and the contents of your pantry to try a new recipe. Create a way to channel your feelings of boredom into a growth opportunity, and you’ll feel satisfied.
An affirmation to support this could be: “I am constantly seeking ways to be creative and discover.”
Have you had a shorter fuse lately? Hopefully, it will be helpful to know that when we experience emotions of anger what that feeling is really telling us is, “What is going on is not fair!” Anger is heightened when our own sense of right and wrong is challenged. Due to the coronavirus, the realm of reproductive endocrinology has been upended. Long awaited procedures are on hold, leaving many of us with tremendous anger that it’s all unfair. And it is!
Recognizing and legitimizing these feelings of anger is a critical first step. The next step is the reality check: “Am I overreacting?” “Am I tired?” “Am I overwhelmed?” Find your inner voice of reason and ask yourself if these changes are for your safety, your health, and that of your future family? With few exceptions, the answer to this is likely, “Yes.” Once there, the final step is to take action to make it right. That action might be self-advocacy, alternative planning and/or acceptance of new and uncertain timetables. Finding ways to make things seem more fair is the best way to satisfy those angry emotions.
A mantra for managing anger might be, “I trust the timing of my life.”
Would it surprise you to learn that guilt is a partner to anger? These two emotions play off each other constantly. When we recognize our feelings of guilt, what we are acknowledging is that instead of being treated unfairly ourselves, we have been unfair to someone else. Acknowledging this with a reality check can be a helpful wake up call.
To remedy the discomfort that guilt generates within us, we simply need to take action to make things right. Perhaps you’ve snapped at your partner due to anger about the unfairness of your embryo transfer being placed on hold. Is it your partner’s fault? Of course not; and you recognize that your anger is unjust. But then your anger morphs into guilt which feels similarly unsettling. After identifying what you’re feeling as guilt, you can take a deep breath and say what needs to be said to apologize and make things right, releasing your discomfort.
But what if you’re feeling guilty because you put the last package of toilet paper in your cart at the grocery store? On the way home, you chastise yourself that another customer might have needed the TP rolls more than you do. There is no one to apologize to specifically. Can you find a different way to forgive yourself? Maybe you drop off the package at the nearby food pantry, and that act of generosity eases your guilt. Or maybe you discover upon your return home that you only have one roll left, and you feel relief that you really did need to make the purchase. The key is that finding a way to forgive yourself is the best way to relieve your guilty conscience.
Your mantra in this situation could be, “I learn and grow from the mistakes I make.”
One of the silver linings of experiencing this pandemic is the self-discovery that has taken place within all of us. We’ve been asked to dig deep, to get very uncomfortable and to make the best of what we have. I encourage you to explore this process of naming the feeling, do a reality check and then support yourself with a new mantra that meets your needs. When you develop mantras that are meaningful and relevant to what you are experiencing, they can create incredible shifts in your health and well-being.
This is Part 1 of a two part series on pairing emotions with supportive mantras. Part 2 will cover the emotions of sadness, loneliness, inadequacy and stress.
Source: The Secret Language of Feelings by Calvin Banyan
Thank you Lisa Brent, for being a guest blogger for Denver Fertility.,Lisa Brent is a highly trained psychotherapist registered with the State of Colorado. She is also a certified hypnotherapist specializing in HypnoFertility®. Lisa's therapy practice is dedicated to supporting women in their fertility journeys. She uses hypnosis as a therapeutic technique because it effectively addresses subconscious beliefs, which can impact fertility. Lisa is a member of the Mental Health Professional Group of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. She is also a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists and is one of only 13 Premier HypnoFertility® therapists worldwide. Lisa has received special training in 5-PATH® advanced hypnosis and is certified to teach 7th Path Self-Hypnosis®. She works closely with a network of fertility practitioners and clinics to get results for her clients.For more information about her practice, visit callingharmony.com.
If you are struggling with infertility call Denver Fertility at 720-420-1570 or contact us online.