Focused, deep breathing is a valuable, calming tool for you on your fertility journey.
Why, you say?
We find that most of the couples we work with say they have high to very high stress levels. On top of everyday stressors, throw in regimented intercourse, daily charting, and perhaps medical fertility issues, all of which may contribute to skyrocketing stress levels. There is no question, trying for baby can be stressful for some couples, especially when conception isn’t coming easily! This is where focused deep breathing can be an invaluable tool for instantly lowering stress levels and bringing you back to a place of centered calm.
Conscious Breathing as a Tool for Control Over Stress
Each of us breathes every moment of every day. Have you ever stopped to think about breathing or how efficiently you breathe? Do you know there is a group of Complementary and Alternative Therapies referred to as Relaxation Techniques, one of which focuses on conscious breathing – concentrating your attention on breathing?
Conscious breathing means taking deep, focused breaths. You may also hear and read of this technique being referred to as diaphragmatic breathing, or meditative, quiet, cleansing breaths, or belly breathing. They all are one and the same, with the same goal, “to consciously produce the body’s natural relaxation response, characterized by slower breathing, lower blood pressure, and a feeling of calm and “well-being” according to The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.
This breathing practice, by which you slow your breathing and focus on taking regular deep breaths, initiates the relaxation response. The body’s response to slowed breathing is to relax. Focused breathing may calm the body, emotions and mind, direct or redirect energy, bring peace, help you stay centered, release tension, induce sleep, reduce pain, and reduce or neutralize stress. It induces a physical response as well as a state of mind.
Interest has peaked in how relaxation techniques affect stress levels as well. Most research has found that such techniques, including focused deep breathing, may support a reduction in anxiety, depression, headaches, hot flashes, insomnia, nausea, and pain, just to name a few conditions that pertain to infertility and the journey to and through parenthood. Focused deep breathing is that which you learn and practice during many mind and body therapies for fertility such as EFT and meditation, and is instrumental in helping to find your center.
To be centered on your fertility journey means to be able to relax in the flow of the journey while understanding, accepting, and being patient with yourself with where you are at.
How to Practice Focused, Deep Breathing
Adapted from Harvard Health Publishing Harvard School of Medicine Healthbeat
2. Gently close your eyes and relax. Place both your hands over your lower abdomen, below your belly button, all the while letting your thoughts go, letting your mind rest.
3. Take a deep breath in through your nose – focusing on filling your belly, notice your hands raise, and then your lungs (this may take practice) … the more relaxed your belly is, the more you will feel it raise.
4. Now breathe out through your nose.
Note: I breathe in up to the count of 5 and out to the count of 5, others say to do so to the count of 3 and some can breathe in for longer than 5 counts. The key is to take the deepest breath you can and the more you practice, the deeper your breaths may become.
5. Repeat these focused, deep breaths 3-5 times.
If time allows or you need more, sit and enjoy your breathing practice longer. If not, slowly open your eyes, even stretch a bit, and go on with your day.
Practice this each day or simply stop in a tense situation no matter where you are and focus on breathing to calm your mind and body.
- Relaxation Techniques for Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm
- CNY Fertility Center – Affordable Quality Care. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.cnyfertility.com/
- Publications, Harvard Health. (n.d.). Take a deep breath. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/lung-health-and-disease/learning-diaphragmatic-breathing