Fertility patients are very susceptible to having nagging, repetitive, “negative” thoughts. While you cannot eliminate them entirely, you can work with them. Below are 8 techniques to modify, influence, challenge, and potentially stop your negative thoughts.
1. Become aware of the thoughts
Many thoughts are not fully in our awareness, but lurk at the threshold of our consciousness. They make us feel uneasy, so that is a clue. You have to “catch your self in the act” of beating yourself up mentally.
2. Direct your focus elsewhere
You can’t permanently get rid of unwelcome thoughts, but you can put a temporary stop to them and give yourself a break. Give the thoughts a gentle mental hug and tell them you have other things to occupy your mind. Find another mental activity, like creating a shopping list or some other menial task. If you are trying to sleep, direct your attention to your breathing.
3. Reframe your negative thoughts
For example, “I will never be a mother” can become “I don’t know how this journey will turn out, but I am doing my best and have hope.”
4. Create a mental escape
Create a safe and comfortable place in your mind where you can go to escape your thoughts. A mountain meadow, a quiet beach, etc. Somewhere else you’d love to be.
5. Try making a journal
This goes well with worry time. Write a bit each day, but again, not before bedtime. It helps to organize scary thoughts by putting them down in writing.
6. Rehearse your behavior
If you fear something that will happen in the future, try to plan for it by mentally rehearsing what you will do. For example, how can you attend the baby shower and not fall apart? Where will you be and who will be with you when you get the call about a pregnancy test?
7. Reflect on what makes you grateful
This could be a portion of your journal. Remind yourself about what is good and what is working well in your life.
This is not about giving up or not trying, it is about accepting your situation for what it really is. You see that you are doing your best, that you cannot control a lot, and that your fertility status does not define you as a person.