Saturday, November 7, 2009

Stress and Fertility

One of the best things you can do for yourself when dealing with problems in fertility is:

CUT DOWN on the STRESS in your life.

That, of course, is very easy for me to say -- and I say it a lot -- but getting rid of stress can be very hard to accomplish. So, I'd like to mention a few things that can help.

To start with, let's define what stress is. I get quite a few patients (very successful people with demanding jobs, who are well-organized, and who do strenuous exercise daily) who insist they they don't have stress. They don't feel stressed, at all, and they don't want to talk about it. Really, they do NOT want to talk about it.

For these people, the idea of being 'stressed' sounds like a criticism, a suggestion of incompetence -- and that isn't what I mean. Stress in TCM is a bodily reaction to the demands of life. So, someone who is very competent is actually likely to have and to handle more demands, and in a sense, to experience a more stressful life.

So, the first thing to realize is that "being stressed" is not a judgment about your life. Good events can cause stress. Excitement can be stressful. Winning the lottery can be stressful. Getting a promotion can be stressful. Strenuous exercise can be stressful. Any situation that involves change and adaption by your body can be seen as stress -- and it does affect your hormone levels and could affect your fertility.

In a way, that is good, because we want to affect your fertility positively -- through exercise, diet, meditation and attitude, as well as acupuncture and herbs.

What can you do to minimize the effects of a busy and demanding life? Here's an idea: try making space for a baby now. Pretend you already have a child. What do you give up in your life to make time for that? How do you change your work and socializing? Begin making those changes (cutting back) and then use your new free time to relax more, eat better, exercise slowly, and breath. Then take that calmer, more expansive attitude into the rest of your life.

Byron Russell

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