Because we’re hardwired to be on alert for danger, our minds are naturally biased toward the negative. According to Rick Hanson, the author of Buddha’s Brain (2009), negative experiences stick to the brain like Velcro and positive experiences slide off like Teflon. The fight/flight response is credited with our survival as a species, but to our misfortune, we’re unable to distinguish between physical and emotional danger. When a major life stressor like infertility is added to the array of everyday stressors, the stress response is kept on low grade chronic alert. Infertility is so stressful it overshadows everything else in life, including what’s good.
The present-moment focus of mindfulness helps to shift attention from what’s wrong to what’s not wrong. Rather than being wedded to the outcome, mindfulness encourages you to pay attention to the process. It’s not what happens but how you relate to what happens that’s essential. Mindfulness prompts you to begin again, as every moment is a new beginning. Mindfulness invites you to say yes to what is occurring and support and nurture positivity. This is especially helpful when challenged by the twists and turns that infertility presents.
Informal Mindfulness Practice:
Throughout this week, whenever you notice yourself focusing on what’s wrong, shift your focus to what’s not wrong. Perhaps you notice the warmth from the sun on your skin, the comfort of the chair you’re sitting on, your dog or cat lying by your feet. Invite the feelings of pleasantness to infuse your body ever more deeply. Soak it in!
“No matter how vast the darkness
we must supply our own light.”
– Stanley Kubrick