Include JOY in your fertilty prep!

The fertility path can lead you to feeling anything but joy. The constant month after month of negative results and setbacks is enough to dishearten even the most cheerful and upbeat of personalities.  As you focus on enhancing your fertility, it is important to understand the benefit of regularly setting time aside for activities that bring you joy.

Let’s look  at the science of feeling good and how that enhances your health.  Endorphins are wonderful hormones produced by the nervous system that help you cope with stress.  As we know, trouble conceiving can be incredibly stressful.   Engaging  regularly in activities that aid in the build up of endorphins can help reduce your fight flight response to stress and allow you to approach stressful situations with more clarity and less emotion.   Activities that are proven to increase endorphins are: exercise, yoga, meditation, volunteering, laughter, massage and acupuncture.   Exercise and yoga do need to be tailored a little though whilst trying to conceive.  Exercise should be kept under 20 mins duration and watch that your heart rate stays under 140bpm. Avoid jolting, jumping movements.  With yoga it is imperative to avoid inversions and deep abdominal twists after ovulation.  Yoga in heated rooms should be avoided altogether.

Another system that is worthwhile mentioning is the endocannabinoid system.  Endocannabinoids are lipids found throughout the body that bind to receptors called ‘cannabinoids’.  They have been shown to play a significant role in fertilization, preimplantation embryo development, implantation and post implantation embryonic growth.   They also modulate sleep, mood, immune function, appetite & digestion, motor control, pain, memory and temperature regulation.    Indeed the endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating the entire body and maintaining balance i.e homeostasis.     So how can we help the endocannabinoid system function optimally?  We can aim for balance in our own lives: enough sleep, nutritious food, rest and minimal stress.    Decreasing our stress levels as we mentioned above can be tricky when trying for a baby.   To balance it out ensure you are including activities that bring you joy and allow your mind to rest for a little.  Exercise again is a great one.  Meditation and yoga are also fantastic for this.  Anything that brings you joy and peace helps correct imbalances in the endocannabinoid system.  Perhaps it is gardening for you or walking your dog.    Engage in these activities regularly and try during the activity to turn off stressful circling thoughts, especially those on fertility.  Focus instead only on the joy and peace you are finding with this activity, and know that in doing that you are balancing the endocannabinoid system and in turn, enhancing fertility.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi is believed to be the very essence of life, the circulating life force within us, that allows us to be alive.  The balance of Qi in the body is what an acupuncturist focuses on in every treatment, as it allows the health of the body to improve.  Qi is fundamentally behind the functioning of every organ and system within the body.  Qi is boosted with nutritious food, rest and moderate exercise.  It is also moderated by our emotions in either positive or detrimental ways.   The classics say the emotion of sadness descends our Qi and allows it to leak from the body.  Furthermore, stress, frustration and irritability can bind the Qi and stagnate it.  However, the emotion of joy uplifts our Qi and invigorates our whole body.  Thus even in ancient Chinese philosophy, the principle of engaging in joyful activities is seen beneficial to enhancing overall health. Any improvements in our general health, are always increasing our fertility receptiveness.

When trying to conceive we are often encouraged to ‘be positive’.  For the majority of us this can often be too difficult a feat, especially when the fertility path presents repeated failures and complications.   Focus instead on choosing to engage in activities that momentarily bring joy and peace. Perhaps reading, colouring in or a stroll in nature could bring you joy.  Commit to these activities without feeling guilty that you could make better use of your time.  Remind yourself of how imperative it is to uplift your Qi and balance your endocannabinoid system to enhance your fertility.

If you are finding you are really worn down by the fertility path and are having trouble feeling even small amounts of joy perhaps it is time to talk to a counsellor or psychologist.  Especially one that understands the road you are on.  Acupuncture has been proven to increase your endorphins and is fantastic at balancing the endocannabinoid system.  Weekly treatments when trying to conceive can be a wonderful ‘pick me up’.  Essential fatty acids have also been shown to aid in balancing the endocannabinoid system, so ensure you are on a good quality fish oil.

Start regularly choosing joy and keep it scheduled in as part of your fertility prep!